Those suffering from kidney ailments can expect to get cheaper dialysis very soon in Maharashtra, with the state government having decided to waive taxes on its equipment.
According to state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, importing dialysis equipment (dialyser and tubing) has become very expensive because of a 44-per cent import duty. This results in exorbitant charges for the procedure, which needs to be done at least twice a week.
In order to give some relief to patients, the state will no longer demand sales tax or value added tax for the equipment. In the annual budget in March this year, the state government had also waived taxes on medicines for dialysis and kidney-related treatment.
According to information available, diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure are causing kidney issues. Of the total patients suffering from such disorders, some 80 per cent do not get dialysis done, either because it is too expensive or unavailable.
1,000-odd patients die every year because they don’t have access to affordable dialysis centres. In the state, there are 450 dialysis centres that cater to just 17,000 patients. Of these, 250 centres are in Mumbai, where 9,000 patients are treated weekly. Each sitting costs Rs 1500-2000 on average.
There are some charitable institutions that offer heavy discounts to underprivileged patients, but the focus also needs to be on increasing the number of treatment centres, said the minister.