Dec 13, 2019 / 14:19

Hanoi police investigate HIV test strip scandal

The Hanoitimes - Chairman of the Hanoi People's Committee Nguyen Duc Chung asked relevant agencies to inspect HIV test strip scandal before December 15.

Hanoi police on December 12 opened an investigation into the case of HIV and hepatitis B fraud at Saint Paul General Hospital, Zing.vn reported.

 A test strip cut in half by diagnostic staff at the Saint Paul Hospital. Photo: VTV24

A report by national broadcaster VTV on December 9 showed that some staffers of the hospital's Department of Microbiology had cut HIV and hepatitis B test strips into halves so that one single-use test strip could be used twice. This fraudulent act could lead to misdiagnosis and does not follow directions for use given by its manufacturer.

On December 10, Director of the hospital Nguyen Dinh Hung said that only 40 HIV test strips were cut into two halves by diagnostic staff at Saint Paul Hospital over the past three months.

Hung denied the act was fraudulent and said it was only an experiment by the Department of Microbiology. The experiment was not reported to the hospital's managerial board, he added.

Through the review, the hospital did not detect the similar act of splitting rapid test strips for hepatitis B. Hung denied the report on mixing four patients' samples in a test tube while performing the ELISA (Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay).

Currently, the hospital suspended from work three of its staff members who are a deputy head of Microbiology Department, the head of the technician team and a technician.

Deputy Director of the Hanoi Department of Health Tran Thi Nhi Ha said that cutting the strips into two halves is not permitted, even as an experiment.

The municipal Department of Health has asked Saint Paul Hospital to review the hospital's chemical inventory books and records of trial tests to identify the procedure violations.

Chairman of the Hanoi People's Committee Nguyen Duc Chung also assigned the Hanoi Department of Health to inspect and strictly handle the scandal in accordance with the law before December 15.

An HIV test kit with 100 test strips costs VND3 million (US$129). Saint Paul Hospital is the largest hospital under management of the Hanoi Department of Health.