New Power Party lawmaker Huang Kuo-chang has called on the Ministry of Health and Welfare to relax standards for insurance coverage for ITP medications.
ITP, or Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura, is a disorder that causes an unusually low level of platelets, the cells that help blood to clot. ITP can lead to excessive bruising or bleeding in patients.
Taiwan’s national health insurance currently only covers ITP medications for patients with life-threatening conditions. This forces most patients to adopt steroid medications with strong side effects, since prescribed ITP drugs can be prohibitively expensive.
At a press conference, one patient explained that the disorder forces her to visit the hospital every week, and she has to be very careful about any possible bleeding. In another case, a father has to pay over NT$ 50,000 (US 1,625) from his own pocket for each injection to treat his daughter’s ITP.
A health ministry official said that they have relaxed standards for ITP medications to cover women who are pregnant or during childbirth. He said they will discuss whether to further relax the standards to cover medications for children.