Thursday, 7 July, 2022

Diagnostic centres use low-quality chemicals for tests

Patients get wrong treatment due to incorrect reports

Many renowned private hospitals and diagnostic centres use low-quality and date-expired chemicals and reagents for doing medical tests, posing a high risk of wrong treatment.

Sources said outdated and substandard reagents are mixed with other chemicals, which make medical reports incorrect. So, patients get inaccurate treatment due to faulty pathological reports.

Besides, diagnostic centres charge patients high fees for medical tests and others services.

Patients are often deceived as many diagnostic centres provide them with substandard services and faulty pathological reports.

The unbridled malpractices by private hospitals and diagnostic centres across the country cannot be stopped because of lax monitoring by the authorities concerned.

The Directorate General of Health Services and mobile courts have recently unearthed massive anomalies at private health facilities and penalised them, but they continue committing the wrongdoings.

Allegations are rife that most diagnostic centres maintain unholy nexus with physicians of different hospitals and clinics. People who come to the centres have to undergo unnecessary tests as prescribed by these physicians.             

For such prescription, the physicians get commission from the centres which offset the commission by charging patients exorbitant fees for tests.

Physicians get up to 40 percent of charge for any test and also get various lucrative gifts from diagnostic centres, said a report by the Anti-Corruption Commission.

Most of the private diagnostic centres across the country have turned into hubs of deception as they are being run only to make money overnight instead of providing health services.

Patients generally go there for conducting medical tests as prescribed by doctors. But, most of these centres lack skilled manpower and necessary equipment.

During mobile court drives by different law enforcement agencies, it is found that date-expired chemicals are being used for pathological tests at many private clinics, hospitals and diagnostic centres.

Some date-expired medicines have also been seized by Rapid Action Battalion personnel recently from renowned hospitals and clinics. On July 2, Popular Diagnostic Centre was fined for keeping date-expired pathological reagents and medicines. A mobile court of the RAB was fined Tk 25 lakh.

RAB Executive Magistrate Sarwar Alam, who conducted most of the mobile courts, said, “We’ve found serious malpractices at Popular Diagnostic Centre. Instead of discarding date-expired reagents, the diagnostic centre writes new dates.”

“We’ve seized a huge quantity of reagents in the storeroom and Lab Machine. Those expired in 2016, which ended in 2017,” he added.

“If the reagents are expired, the report may not be correct and incorrect reports will lead to wrong treatment.”

On March 21, a mobile court fined United Hospital Tk 20 lakh for using date-expired reagents for medical tests. Sarwar Alam said United Hospital authorities had been using date-expired medicines and spurious medical materials for treatment.

“We conducted the drive to check the machinery of the hospital,” he said.

He further said: “We found the hospital has a substandard supply line for medicines and low-grade stuff. Its suppliers don’t have any legal documents.”

On February 19, the mobile court of the RAB fined the authorities of Apollo Hospitals Dhaka Tk 5 lakh for selling unapproved and counterfeit medicines and using expired reagents for pathological tests.

On September 11, the High Court ordered an immediate shutdown of 14 private hospitals and diagnostic centres that operate illegally in the Mohammadpur area of the capital.

The hospitals include BDM Hospital, Shebika General Hospital & Diagnostic Centre, Janasheba Nursing Home & Diagnostic Centre, Life Care Nursing Home, Royal Multispeciality Hospital, Nawab Siraj ud-Daulah Manoshik and Madokashakto Hospital, Monomita Mental Hospital,  Plasma Medical services Ltd, Shefa Hospital & Diagnostic Centre, Islamia Mental Hospital, Macca Madina General Hospital & Diagnostic Centre, New Welcare Hospital, Bangladesh Trauma Specialized Hospital.

On September 14, a mobile court of RAB fined six hospitals and diagnostic centres in Mohammadpur area Tk 17 lakh for different irregularities. Four hospitals and clinics were also sealed off by the mobile court.

Professor Dr Maniruzzaman Bhuiyan, president of Bangladesh Private Clinic Diagnostic Owners Association, told the daily sun that not all the physicians are engaged in immoral practices. Those involved in immoral practice should change their mindset.

“None of our members are on the list of 14 hospitals and clinics which were ordered immediate shutdown,” he added. Ghulam Rahman, president of Consumers’ Association of Bangladesh (CAB), told the daily sun that malpractices of some private hospitals and clinics are unacceptable.

“Hospital owners can play foul with patients to make money, but doctors’ involvement in deceiving patients is totally unacceptable,” he added. The CAB leader has hailed drives by RAB and other organisations against illegal practice of hospitals and clinics. He has demanded exemplary punishment for those who are involved in such ill practices.