The hike in the prices of blood in government-run hospitals in Uttar Pradesh's Gorakhpur District has left locals in and around the area facing some tough times ahead.
The blood transfer charges in both the general and private wards have been fixed at Rs 850 per unit.
This has put additional costs on the pockets of the poor, who were charged Rs 250 earlier in the general ward.
"The prices of blood has increased in the private sector, medical college and all the registered blood banks in the city, and has been fixed at Rs 850. The private banks, however, haven't hiked it individually," said O P Parekh, Chief Medical Superintendent (CMS), District Hospital, Gorakhpur.
"That is their own outlook. But because we are a part of a government establishment, then we have to obey all the revised provisions," he added.
Though the officials in government hospitals claim that the needy still can avail treatment for free, patients have a different story to tell.
"We do not get anything. You may run around as much as you wish to, people send us here and there, but no one gives us anything for free. Then we have to ultimately shell out money for the blood," said Rakesh Pandey, a patient's relative.
The patients say that as the rates in the government hospitals are at par with private hospitals, they would prefer availing better services at the latter.
However, despite the price hike, private blood banks sell blood at lower rates, and even have provisions for the poor.
"In government blood banks, the prices of blood has been hiked and suddenly they have shot up to Rs 850. As per my knowledge, the private banks still sell the blood at 500-550 rupees per unit," said Avdhesh Agarwal, an officer at the blood bank of Guru Gorakhnath Hospital.
"So, when private blood banks can keep nominal prices then what is the compulsion in government blood banks that they cannot sell blood at lower price than 850 when earlier it was 100-150 rupees," he added.
The rise in prices of medical care and facilities is making it more difficult for the poor and the needy to access health care services.