Defective blood-test kits in West Bengal

Published: Friday 15 December 2006

Infected: For a drop defective blood-testing kits sold to West Bengal government clinics, blood banks and hospitals may have resulted in thousands of people receiving hiv or Hepatitis B- and C-infected blood. Infections through blood transfusion are being reported across the state. The government is seizing kits and has issued a warning to all health centres about possible contamination of blood.

Over one lakh defunct test kits, well past the expiry date, were found after 75 state-run and private blood banks across West Bengal were raided on October 2006. They were supplied by Monozyme India Pvt Ltd--a Secunderabad-based company. On some kits, dating back to 2004, expiry dates were tampered with or deleted. Each kit tests up to 48 units of blood for Hepatitis B, C and hiv.

The Calcutta High Court has ordered a report on the scam.Tapash Sengupta, father of a Kolkata thalassaemia patient who requires frequent blood transfusions, petitioned the court, saying that the government should bear costs for the infected. Meanwhile, Kolkata police are investigating state health officials' involvement. The health minister declined to comment "since an inquiry is on". The union government too, has ordered a probe.

According to health officials, till August 2006, Monozyme had supplied over 140,000 kits for testing Hepatitis B and C alone.

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