In two years Indians spent around Rs 74,000 cr on Covid tests conducted by fake labs. Many of these labs appear to do thousands of Covid-19 tests per day, presumably without sufficient approval, authority, quality control, infrastructure, or qualified personnel.
During the Coronavirus pandemic’s first two years, Indians shelled over a staggering Rs 74,000 crore for 74 crore Covid-19 tests through shady private pathological laboratories. Consequently, upwards of 500,000 people have died as a result of more than 4.20 crore positive cases, reports Business Standard.
Indians have undertaken numerous Covid-19 tests such as RTPCR, RAT, TrueNAT, CBNAAT, as well as other tests via (currently) 3,255 testing labs, comprising 1,844 commercial and 1,411 government, according to Grahak Bharati, a Nagpur-based consumer rights NGO.
Just 2,141 (764 government and 1,377 private) labs do the in-demand, globally acknowledged RTPCR tests, while the remainder 1,114 (647 government+467) facilities perform some other tests.
A test used to cost roughly Rs 3,500 or so in the early days of the epidemic, but prices have since settled at somewhere around Rs 600, with low-cost home-test kits now obtainable for about Rs 250.
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“Considering an average of Rs 1000/test, Indians have been compelled to spend over Rs 74,000-crore only for Covid-19 tests, with private labs netting the major portion of the loot,” Grahak Bharati Founder-President Barrister Vinod Tiwari told IANS.
He argued that perhaps the bulk of such tests were practically pushed on individuals despite the fact that they had no first symptoms, or that they were unwarranted given the low positivity rate, and also that they wound up scaring the nation in the name of coronavirus.
Grahak Bharati has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Minister of Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the ICMR, top central and state authorities, and the Central Vigilance Commission, requesting an investigation into the “massive unbridled dacoity” orchestrated on unsuspecting Indians.
He threatened that Grahak Bharati will lodge a PIL in the Supreme Court if the administration failed to take urgent notice of the widespread racket.
Tiwari claimed that this was a “systematic mega-scam” involving government officials’ collusion, disreputable private labs, and their franchisees functioning with politicians’ graces, and therefore it infringes regulations of the central Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010, making such sketchy laboratories answerable to severe penalties.
Clarifying, Tiwari outlined that several of the private labs are remotely located affiliates underneath the formally approved/recognized Advanced Laboratories (1,844) in India.
Surprisingly, many of these labs appear to do thousands of Covid-19 tests per day, presumably without sufficient approval, authority, quality control, infrastructure, or qualified personnel.
“The ICMR has said that on a single day on Feb. 4, there were an unbelievable 16,03,856 tests conducted. Were these necessary and practical? This only points to the possibility that a majority of the Covid tests are ‘concocted’ to scare the masses,” alleged Tiwari.
Worryingly, the government has been making key policy judgements based solely on such unlawfully conducted tests, such as lockdowns, restrictions, and curbs on inter-district, inter-state, and sometimes even international public movements, which has effectively killed the economy. In terms of total infected, India holds the second position (after the United States).
“The so-called franchisee labs lack infrastructure, qualified post-graduate doctors, particularly Pathologist and Microbiologist and others compulsorily required for the RTPCR tests and to determine the Covid-19 positive patients, tests are conducted in remote locations and the test results are issued indiscriminately, with the digital signatures of the medicos at Advanced Laboratories thousands of kms away,” fumed Tiwari.
According to Grahak Bharati, there is no supervision over sample collecting, processing, adequate testing, or precise assessment techniques, which frequently result in inconsistent results.
Two Mumbaikars recently received two distinct Covid negative and Covid positive findings from two laboratories in less than 24 hours (IANS report – Jan. 12), but the Aarogya Setu portal seemed unmoved.
The nation is in the clutches of a moderate Third Wave, according to Tiwari, yet “there is no guarantee” just how many “waves” will bury Indians except if the government acts quickly to stop this “blatant, organized scam.”