SCMP.com – Farmers face daunting bills for hepatitis CPosted: July 29, 2012
SCMP’s Alice Yan says, “The average cost of inpatient treatment for hepatitis C on the mainland is more than the average annual income of farmers, a national survey has found.
“Dr Duan Zhongping, director of hepatology at the Wu Jieping Medical Foundation and vice-president of BeijingYouanHospital, said the first national survey on the cost of treatment, conducted from March to May, found that inpatient bills averaged 8,212 yuan ($1,290).
“The National Bureau of Statistics says the average income of a mainland farmer last year was 6,977 yuan ($1,100), while that of an urban resident was 23,979 yuan ($3,467.70).
“‘I encounter a lot of farmers who have gone into bankruptcy because of this disease,’ Duan said.
“Inpatient treatment usually lasts for a couple of weeks or a bit longer, with 60 per cent of the cost going on drugs and the rest on nursing, testing and other fees.
“Duan said a patient then had to take drugs orally and receive interferon injections for about a year, costing another 80,000 yuan ($12,560) or so.
“Urban patients will see 70 per cent of their bills met by medical insurance, while rural patients have half of their bills paid by the new Rural Co-operative Medical Insurance System.”
“Hepatitis C affects an estimated 10 million to 13 million people on the mainland.”
Due to lack of awareness of the disease, SCMP says, “Hepatitis C buses organised by the health ministry have been travelling across the nation since last year to boost awareness of the disease and provide free five-minute blood tests.”
China Strives for Full Coverage of Medical Insurance dated July 21