Fake medical kits: Police widen probe netPolice have expanded the scope of their investigation following revelations that substandard medical kits have been supplied to various hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies—leading to wrong diagnosis of patients.
Police have expanded the scope of their investigation following revelations that substandard medical kits have been supplied to various hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies—leading to wrong diagnosis of patients.
The probe was triggered by the arrest of Kiran Kumar Shrestha of Sero-Lab Nepal Traders, Sanepa, Lalitpur last Wednesday. Shrestha was caught forging labels of an Italian company for products that were brought in from China.
Police had taken up the case after complaints from medical suppliers in the country. Shrestha used to supply these fake kits to Army Hospital, Chhauni and several other hospitals, pharmacies and clinics in Kathmandu Valley.
During the investigation, police had sent the confiscated samples to National Public Health Laboratory of the Health Ministry which said that all of them were substandard and had expired.
“We have sent other samples too for examination,” said Senior Superintendent of Police Pitamber Adhikari. “We are widening the scope of our investigation.”
Police had seized 21 such kits from Shrestha’s office which were ready to receive the labels of the Italian company. Shrestha allegedly got HIV Elisa test kits and thyroid diagnosis kits from Auto-Bio Diagnostic Company in Chengdu, China, and put faked Adaltis labels on them.
SSP Adhikari said Shrestha has long been involved in the import of substandard kits and drug items. “He has been delivering these kits to
laboratories that conduct health check-ups for migrant workers,” said SSP Adhikari. “He has already confessed
to the wrongdoing.” Fears are rife that many of the results shown by these kits might be untrue.
According to police, Shrestha was blacklisted by the Department of Drug Administration and Bir Hospital for the delivery of substandard goods. Nepal Army also expressed its concern on the kits supplied by Shrestha.
While a case of black marketeering and fraudulence has been filed against Shrestha, the Lalitpur District Court has remanded him to custody. Police are said to be studying the lab results produced by these kits.
Action sought to curb substandard medical examination
The International Relations and Labour Committee of Parliament on Sunday directed the government to take stringent action against health institutions who conduct substandard health check-ups in Nepal that do not stand up to the health screening system at the labour destination countries. As a result, many migrant workers have been deported.
The committee meeting asked the government to book those institutions whose negligence have caused unnecessary hassles to the migrants as some are diagnosed with chronic conditions and sent back home. Together with substandard medical kits, misuse of health certificates by such health institutions have posed a serious health risk to migrants once they reach their labour destinations.
Data made available by Nepali missions in the Gulf and Malaysia show a third of over 7,000 deaths of Nepali migrant workers were caused by “health defects”. Many people succumb to chronic diseases, including heart attack and stroke, while other die of mental trauma and exhaustion, among others. Ironically many of the deceased were deemed ‘’medically fit” and provided the health certificates accordingly.
Committee Chairman and Maoist parliamentarian Prabhu Shah said the haphazard registration of health institutions has put a question mark over the authenticity of their medical diagnosis and tests. The migrant workers have to undergo various tests including HIV/Aids, routine blood and urine tests, chest x-ray among others.