Rural Doctor Society asks PM to stop ATK procurement from China’s Lepu Medical Technology

Thailand’s Rural Doctor Society (RDS) is urging Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to stop the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) signing a contract with China’s Lepu Medical Technology, for the supply of 8.5 million antigen test kits (ATKs), which the government plans to distribute free to the public via hospitals.

In its statement, issued today (Thursday), the RDS also urged the GPO to procure only ATKs which meet the quality standards set by the World Health Organization, instead of the cheapest ones.

The GPO is yet to officially announce the winner of the bid to supply the 8.5 million kits, ordered by the National Health Security Office (NHSO).

The RDS said the selection process is problematic because the GPO is using the lowest price, instead of the highest quality offered by the bidders, as the key determinant in deciding which should be awarded the contract, which is worth about one billion baht.

The RDS claims, however, that the GPO has chosen Lepu Medical Technology of China, because it offered the lowest price.

RDS said that, on May 28th, the US Food and Drug Administration warned the American public to stop using the Lepu Medical Technology SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test Kit and the Leccurate SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Rapid Test Kit (Colloidal Gold Immunochromatography) because it has serious concerns about the performance of the two test kits and believes there is a high risk of false results when using these tests.

Neither test kit has been authorized, cleared or approved by the FDA for distribution and use in the US, said the RDS, adding that Lepu Medical Technology later withdrew the rapid test kits from the US market.

ATKs are a key element in the containment of COVID-19 and, hence, they must be accurate and meet the WHO standard, which is higher than the GPO’s standard, said the RDS, adding that false negative results, which require a second RT-PCR test, may deprive the patients of rapid treatment and will be a waste money.

False negative results may lead to delayed diagnosis or inappropriate treatment of COVID-19 patients, which may cause harm, including serious illness and death. False negative results can also lead to further spread of the contagion.

“Soldiers need high-quality tanks, planes and submarines to protect the country against invaders, so do doctors who need quality ATKs to fight COVID-19,” said the statement.


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