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Government expands cover for stem-cell treatments


GOVERNMENT healthcare has been extended to cover more stem-cell transplant patients, Social Security Office (SSO) chief Dr Suradech Waleeitthikul said yesterday.

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The SSO board and its medical sub-panel recently improved the original coverage for stem-cell transplants, in place since 1997, by adding more benefits this year. 
Suradech said stem-cell transplantation using allogeneic unrelated donors – persons who are not siblings of the patients – would now be covered, where it was previously limited to use of the patient’s own stem cells or transplants from siblings. 
The maximum age of those entitled to SSO-covered stem cell transplantation will also be raised to 65 from 60, he said.
Myelofibrosis – a serious bone marrow disorder – has been added to the list of eight diseases eligible for stem cell treatment. The others are chronic myelogenous leukaemia, acute myeloid leukaemia, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, lymphoma, severe aplastic anaemia, myelodysplastic syndrome and myeloma.
Medical coverage for stem-cell transplantation will also be raised to Bt1.3 million – almost double the previous rate of Bt750,000 – for related and unrelated donors, said Suradech.
Last year, 74 patients were approved for stem-cell transplants under SSO healthcare, he said.
Patients can receive stem-cell treatments at Chulalongkorn, Ramathibodi, Siriraj and Phramongkutklao hospitals in Bangkok as well as Songkhla’s Songkla Nagarind Hospital, Khon Kaen’s Srinagarind Hospital Khon Kaen, Chiang Mai’s Maharaj Nakhon Chiang Mai Hospital and Phitsanulok’s Naresuan University Hospital. For more information, contact the SSO branches or call the hotline 1506.

Published : January 04, 2017

By : THE NATION