Government-run banks meet only a limited demand for blood for transfusion; the rest is met by blood banks run by private or voluntary agencies like the Red Cross. The government has fixed Rs 500 as the maximum processing charge for a unit, but private banks—many run by upscale private hospitals—charge anywhere from Rs 900 to Rs 2,000 per unit. Scarcity or rarity of the blood group pushes the price even higher.
And things could only get worse with the new blood policy cleared by the Union cabinet. It focuses on phasing out replacement donors from the blood transfusion programme and collecting blood only through voluntary non-remunerative donations. The current practice is for a patient to source blood from a bank, pay for it, and get relatives or friends to donate an equal amount of blood to replenish stocks.