New Delhi: A day after Delhi High Court order revealed that India was paying double the rates for COVID-19 test kits from China, the government clarified that not a single rupee will be lost to Chinese firms as the payments for the faulty supplies have not been made yet and the orders have been cancelled after quality issues. Also Read - PM Modi Not in 'Good Mood' About Ongoing Border Situation With China, Says Trump
COVID-19 test kits made by two Chinese companies Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics have been found ‘under-performing’ by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the government said. It has also asked states and hospitals to stop using the kits made by the two companies. In its communication to states and UTs, the ICMR said it “evaluated the kits of Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livson Diagnostics in field conditions. The results have shown wide variation in their sensitivity, despite early promise of good performance for surveillance purpose”. Also Read - Nepal Airport Under Renovation Amid Coronavirus Lockdown
“The ICMR followed the due process to finalise tenders for the purchase of rapid testing kits, based on sensitivity and specificity. When complaints from the field arose, ICMR reacted promptly and cancelled the orders. No payment was made to the vendors. No payment has been made by the ICMR to the companies whose testing kits were found to be faulty,” Joint Secretary at the Health Ministry Lav Agarwal told media. Also Read - Bangladesh Govt Decides Not to Extend COVID-19 Shutdown
On March 27, the government had ordered five lakh rapid ordered five lakh rapid through the ICMR. The apex medical body was also procuring the rapid kits on behalf of state governments.
Earlier last week, the Delhi High Court fixed the price of the antibody test kits at Rs 400 each as against Rs 600 approved by the ICMR.
The ruling came on a plea by two companies, Rare Metabolics Life Sciences Pvt Ltd and Aark Pharmaceuticals, which had entered into an agreement with Matrix Labs, for distribution of the kits in India. Matrix Lab is the the importer of the kits. The two companies approached the court after Matrix sought full payment for the kits before delivering them, according to details submitted in the court.
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government has said that it will return 24,000 rapid test kits to China, following the directions of ICMR. “As per the ICMR order, all 24,000 kits received by the Tamil Nadu government are being returned,” Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar said in a statement.