Fake medical kits: Police widen probe net

- Manish Gautam, Kathmandu

Feb 22, 2016-

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.

Published: 22-02-2016 08:00

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