FIR filed against private lab for misreporting Covid-19 resultsUpdated: Jul 09, 2020 23:56 IST
Gurgaon Police on Thursday lodged an FIR against SRL Diagnostics, a private lab, for allegedly misreporting Covid-19 test results in April this year.
The action was taken after Haryana health minister Anil Vij on Monday said that directions have been issued for lodging an FIR against the lab based in Gurugram, which in April had reported Covid-19 negative samples as positive in Ambala and other districts.
Gurugram police commissioner KK Rao confirmed the development , “An FIR has been registered against SRL Diagnostics in sector 18 police station under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 . Necessary action will be taken based on the provisions of the Act for violation of norms.”.
Contacted, SRL Diagnostics, however, in a statement said they had not received any information from the police in the matter. “Some media reports are citing that there has been an order to file an FIR against SRL Diagnostics owing to a discrepancy in Covid-19 test results. We haven’t received any official communication on this,” the lab’s statement said.
On Thursday, Dr Virender Yadav, chief medical officer, wrote a letter to police commissioner Rao demanding an FIR and appropriate action against the lab for misreporting Covid-19 tests. “Based on investigations done by a committee constituted at the state level, the lab was found to have misreported Covid-19 test results. The FIR was lodged in Gurugram since the lab is based in the city,” said Yadav.
On April 24, civil surgeon of Ambala, had called for an inquiry in the case after three people of a family were reported Covid-19 positive by the SRL Diagnostics. They were in contact with a positive case in Panchkula. They were asymptomatic when they got themselves tested and were confirmed positive by the private lab. Worried about their test result, they approached the civil surgeon Ambala for a re-test. Their samples were then sent to a government lab in Karnal, where they tested negative in 24 hours.
In April, when private labs were allowed to conduct RT-PCR tests, Gurugram was the only district in Haryana where privately owned labs were functional. Samples, which could not be tested in the government labs due to capacity constraints, were sent to these private labs.
The incident triggered a controversy when SRL diagnostics rubbished the government lab result and said it stood by its results, while stating that they had re-tested the samples using the RNA extract stored with them.
The health minister later in April had ordered an inquiry into the case. The Director General Health Services (DGHS) constituted a committee of five doctors for conducting the probe. The team visited the diagnostic lab and enquired into the matter and found misreporting of Covid-19. The DGHS sought legal opinion from the Advocate General of Haryana, who in turn suggested that the lab be completely investigated.
SRL Diagnostics confirmed that their Gurgaon Clinical Reference lab was visited by the state health department teams on multiple occasions between April and May this year and their team of doctors had been grilled on multiple occasions.
“In April 2020, upon receiving notice from the Haryana Medical Service Corporation Limited, SRL had retested the preserved RNA of the cases mentioned by the Ambala civil surgeon office on an alternate FDA and ICMR approved RT PCR kit. The results, the lab said, were still positive. SRL Gurugram lab even today stands tall on the results that were released by us earlier,” reads the official statement by the lab.
On July 6, Vij addressed the media at his residence in Ambala and said that\ instruction has been issued to lodge an FIR against the lab. He said, “Based on the complaint received against the SRL lab, a departmental enquiry was conducted. The samples claimed by the labs to be positive were found to be negative when tested in another lab.” Officials privy to the matter said that such discrepancy of the test reports has been reported from other districts too.