Blood banks short of blood
In view of a nationwide blood shortage since the Lunar New Year holidays, the Blood Services Foundation yesterday called on the public to donate blood. Mackay Memorial Hospital’s Department of Laboratory Medicine chief He Hsin-chung (何信重) said there’s a blood shortage after almost every Lunar New Year. “The situation this year, however, is especially severe,” he said, attributing the reduced interest in donating blood to the low temperatures over the past two weeks and an influenza outbreak. According to sources, the supply in blood banks has reached a six-year low. Given the shortage, aside from seeking new sources, such as calling on people to donate, the other solution is to limit blood transfusions, He said. All of the limitations imposed would be put into practice with the understanding that medical care is not impaired, He added.
Electric boat launched
The government inaugurated an electric-powered boat in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) in Nantou County yesterday to promote low-carbon tourism. The twin-hulled safety patrol vessel unveiled on is “just a beginning,” Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) said at the launch ceremony. The boat is aimed at encouraging companies to replace their diesel tour yachts to reduce noise and air pollution in the area, he said. The ministry said it would offer subsidies to local companies starting this year to help them replace their boats. However, Wang Fen-sheng (王汾勝), the head of an association for the area’s tourist yacht companies, said the government incentives are insufficient because electric vessels are so much more expensive than diesel ones. Also, the government’s eco-friendly promotion comes amid fierce business competition in the area, with 137 private tourist yachts on the lake at present, he said.
Michelin issues Taiwan guide
The world-renowned Michelin Guide has published a guide for Taiwan in English and French, which will hit bookstore shelves soon. The 388-page guide lists 38 towns and regions in Taiwan as three-star must-see destinations, 142 as two-star recommended destinations and 138 as one-star interesting destinations. The must-see destinations include Taipei 101, Longshan Temple, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and the National Palace Museum, and the two-star destinations include Sun Moon Lake, Yushan, Greater Kaohsiung, Hsinchu and the Eastern Taiwan Coastal Highway. The new Michelin tour guides are expected to help attract more foreign visitors to Taiwan.
Revise drug system: alliance
The Taiwan Breast Cancer Alliance has complained that the National Health Insurance (NHI) drug reimbursement system was not transparent enough and called for revision of the payment formula. It said most late-stage cancer patients find the target drug payment system too expensive, but cannot do without the medicines. Hsieh Ruey-kuen (謝瑞坤), president of Taiwan Total Cancer Care Foundation said sometimes the cost of reasonably priced, effective drugs is not reimbursed. He suggested that the government adopt the quality-adjusted life year model, a formula used in Western countries to help decisionmakers decide which drugs merit reimbursement.