It purports to be a diagnostic lab on the move that claims to scan the human body within a matter of minutes and prepare a report, a combination of 35 tests, and unscrupulous quacks are minting money out of it by selling the tests to gullible villagers.
This broad daylight robbery by a group of quacks, is on in several districts including, SAS Nagar, Ropar and Fatehgarh Sahib for some time.
These quacks, operating with a Chinese machine named AE Organism Electric Analyzer, don't have any permanent office or clinic. You are asked to hold a pen-like device in hand and within seconds, a machine being touted as the 'Themodern machine' will churn out a report on your body's malfunctioning organs.
A Google query reveals that hundreds of these machines are available, anywhere between Rs 5,000 and Rs 20,000. An online seller claims: "The instrument is an ideal promotion tool for beauty salons, SPA club, clinics, health examination centre, health food/nutrition supplement/healthcare products shop, direct selling, massages centres etc. The operator can write out prescription based on testing reports. It's also suitable for family use."
Modus operandi of the quacks
The quacks usually advertise their business at religious places under the garb of conducting medical check-up camps. The pamphlets for the diagnostic tests list out the date, time and place of the camp, two days in advance, and also ask exhort people to take an appointment on phone, before reporting for the 'tests'.
What is the money charged?
When the HT team visited one of these camps at a gurdwara at Sunny Enclave at Kharar, the quacks charged Rs 400 as registration fee. One of was then asked asked to hold a device that resembled a barcode reader and in a few minutes, a detailed report of the functioning of the entire body was provided. At a reputed hospital like the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), the report that was given to us would have required 36 different examinations on machines costing crores of rupees for conditions resembling cardiovascular diseases to liver functioning tests and kidney functioning.
Here, we were not even asked to give blood or urine samples.
Quacks also dispense medicines
"The operators of these 'labs' also sell medicines for the conditions that the machine 'diagnoses' for anything between Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000 and end up collecting up to Rs 40,000 in a single camp," sats Dr Gangandeep Shergill, a PCMS doctor posted at Morinda.
Shergill, also the general secretary of the PCMS Doctors' Association, Punjab, adds: "Illiterate and uneducated poor villagers end up being the victims of these quacks as they prefer simplistic solutions."
Experts say that it is not possible to know the functioning of the body like that. "How one can reports of such complex tests be generated without taking samples from the body. It is nothing but quackery. Institutes like the PGIMER spend crores every year on advanced equipment to get accurate reports. There is not even an iota of credibility to such tests," said Dr Arvind Rajwanshi, head research department, at the PGIMER.
Interestingly, even as the health department claims to be aware of the issue, no action has been taken. When contacted, SAS Nagar civil surgeon Dr Neelam Bhardwaj said: "Action will soon be taken against the quacks."