Around 9,000 people tested with reused nasal swabs at Indonesian airport—reports | Inquirer News
Close  

Around 9,000 people tested with reused nasal swabs at Indonesian airport—reports

/ 05:45 PM May 08, 2021
COVID-19

INQUIRER.net Stock Photo

A state-owned pharmaceutical company in Indonesia is accused of having used recycled rapid antigen swabs on around 9,000 people.

Five lab workers from the firm Kimia Farma were arrested late last month and are facing up to six years in prison, as per New York Times on May 1. They were said to have violated consumer protection, medical waste and contagious disease laws.

ADVERTISEMENT

Authorities busted the scam following an investigation into whether people were being infected through contaminated nasal swab test kits.

An undercover cop underwent a nasal swab test at the Kualanamu International Airport after receiving a tip. He received a false-positive result, according to North Sumatra police spokesperson Hadi Wahyudi as cited by the outlet.

FEATURED STORIES

He then underwent another swab test at the police station that showed he was negative of COVID-19, which led to them raiding the Kima Farma laboratory in the city of Medan.

Police discovered and confiscated hundreds of recycled cotton swabs from the lab, which provided the test kits to the said airport.

Authorities said the five workers made an estimated $125,000 (around P6 million) from the scam, according to the South China Morning Post on May 5.

Human rights lawyers Ranto Sibarani and Kamal Pane, who frequently traveled from Medan to Jakarta, are now planning to sue the state-owned pharmaceutical company for the fraud.

The two lawyers went through the said airport several times to attend a case from December 2020 to February 2021, according to the report.

“I feel that I am the victim of serious fraud and that I was violated through my nose,” Sibrani was quoted as saying.

They are now planning to claim from Kimia Farma damages of $69,000 (around P3.3 million) per affected passenger, the report said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Medan’s police chief, RZ Panca Putra Simanjuntak, was cited as telling the media that more than 9,000 passengers might have been affected by the recycled test kits. Around 100 to 200 people were being tested at the airport every day during the span of the fraud.

The Kimia Farma testing center at the airport has since been shut down, according to the report. An airport official noted that they are now looking for other providers of rapid antigen test kits.

Kimia Farma Corporate Secretary Ganti Wiratno, meanwhile, disclosed that the suspects have been fired and that they would be replaced with “employees who have high standards of integrity and the required competencies for the job.”

Indonesia has so far reported around 1.7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over 45,000 deaths, the report said. Ian Biong /ra

RELATED STORIES:

Woman who rejected COVID-19 vaccine urged public to get vaccinated before she died

US senator caught driving while in Zoom meeting on distracted driving bill

For more news about the novel coronavirus click here.
What you need to know about Coronavirus.
For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150.

The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Airports, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Indonesia, Kimia Farma, pharmaceutical companies, rapid antigen test, scammers, scams, Swab Tests
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2021 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.