In past year, BP Koirala Cancer Hospital provided treatment worth Rs 4 billion to patients for freeThe hospital has been providing treatment to patients who have to invest more than Rs 200 million for their treatment, to children below the age of 15 and to senior citizens.
BP Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital in Bharatpur has provided medicines and treatment worth around Rs 4 billion to patients free of cost in the last fiscal year.
According to Dr Bijaya Chandra Acharya, executive director of the hospital, Gleevec medicine worth around Rs 3 billion was provided to patients of blood cancer for free last year. “Last year, 1,073 patients received Gleevec medicine free of cost. The hospital has been providing the medicine free of cost for the last decade and a half,” said Acharya.
Kidney cancer patients also received Sutent medicine free of cost. Dr Acharya said, “Last year Sutent medicine around Rs 800 million was distributed to patients.” The Max Foundation in the US provides Gleevec and Sutent medicines free of cost to the hospital.
The hospital has also been providing treatment and medicines free of cost to the patients who have to invest more than Rs 200 million for their treatment. “Most patients cannot afford Gleevec and Sutent medicines. Therefore, the hospital decided to provide these medicines to them. The hospital has prioritised children, senior citizens and impoverished communities for treatment,” said Acharya.
The hospital also provides free medical treatment to children (below 15 years) and senior citizens. Every year, the hospital has been spending more than Rs 20 million for the treatment of children and senior citizens.
According to Shrestha, they also provide meals to the patients (who get admitted for treatment) at free. The hospital has been investing around Rs 13.2 million every year for meals.
Bishnu Paudel, chief at the Division Forest Office in Chitwan, is a regular user of the Gleevec medicine. Paudel said, “I have been receiving medicines worth around Rs 1.2 million free of cost every month. Gleevec and Sutent medicines are highly expensive medicines. It’s not easily available and ordinary people cannot purchase these medicines.”
Dr Jaya Shrestha, chief at the Department of Medical Oncology, said that patients suffering from blood cancer will survive only for five to six months without Gleevec medicine. Shrestha said, “With the use of this medicine, patients can expect to live longer, probably for around 20 years more.”