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Fake test kits, seized medical products

Police show off falsely labeled ATKs, face masks and other goods seized in raids on premises in Nakhon Pathom and Nonthaburi on Thursday. (Photo: Wassayos Ngamkham)

Fake Covid-19 antigen test kits and other medical equipment, worth around 2 million baht, were seized in raids by police in Nakhon Pathom and Nonthaburi provinces on Thursday.

Teams of Consumer Protection Police Division (CPPD) officers and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials first searched a commercial building in tambon Naraphirom of Bang Len district in Nakhon Pathom .

They seized tens of thousands of antigen test kits (ATKs) that were falsely labeled with brand names such as Testsealabs Gica, Testsealabs Nex and Zybio, along with face masks and other products.

A woman identified only as Anusara admitted to owning the goods and the building, Central Bureau of Investigation Commissioner Lt. Gen. Jirabhob Bhuridej said.

The second raid took place at a tambon Bang Khen house in Muang district of Nonthaburi. There they seized ATKs falsely labeled as Testsealab Gia, Testsealabs Nex, Greenspring, Singclean, Seinofy, Hip, Deepblue, Humansis, Bioteke and Ustar, as well as medical gloves, oximeters and Chinese herbal products.

A woman identified only as Patyaphorn admitted to owning the house and property.

The items seized from the two locations were worth around 2 million baht in total, the CIB chief said.

The raids followed complaints that unscrupulous people were selling unapproved products falsely labeled with FDA-approved brand names.

CPPD Branch 4 Chief Pol Col Neti Wongkulab said a police investigation revealed that falsely labeled ATKs were being sold at low prices through Facebook accounts run by the two women since April. They sold ATKs for 40 to 45 baht each, cheaper than brands normally sold, Pol Col Neti said.

The police posed as customers, buying the ATKs from a shop near the site of the first raid in Nakhon Pathom. They then searched the nearby commercial building and found the same products packaged and ready for distribution. This led to the raid on the house in Nonthaburi.

Pol Col Neti said the next step would be to arrest the Chinese national who allegedly supplied these counterfeit products. Investigators believed at least four people were involved.

FDA Secretary General Paisarn Dunkum said oximeters and ATKs are medical devices. Tampering with medical equipment affects quality and safety and poses a danger to medical staff and patients.

Tampering with medical equipment is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of one million baht, Dr Paisarn said.

Joan J. Dean

The author Joan J. Dean