PESHAWAR: A new medicine for thalassaemia patients aims to reduce dependency on blood transfusions by 40%. Dr Saqib Hussain Ansari of the National Institute of Blood Diseases (NIBD) said that Hydroxyurea had been used to treat sickle cell-related diseases for the past 20 years but it was proving more effective to treat red blood cell diseases. Dr Ansar said he administered the medicine to 17 patients, out of which five patients had positive results. Chairman of the Hamza Foundation and Blood Transfusion Center, Ijaz Ali Khan, said that thalassaemia treatment could cost up to Rs2 million, while the medicine is said to cost only Rs10 per capsule. “The medicine will give hope to those who cannot afford the treatment,” Khan said. Thalassaemia patients require a blood transfusion every month. Five to eight thousand patients with thalassaemia are registered every year in the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2012.