State-owned pharmaceutical company Kimia Farma is accused of washing and reselling used Covid nasal swabs in test kits in Medan, with an estimated 9,000 people who were possibly tested using recycled swabs.
An Indonesian state-owned pharmaceutical company is facing a lawsuit over accusations that it washed and resold used Covid nasal swab test kits – to be used again on different people.
Accusations against the company Kimia Farma surfaced last week when lab workers in Medan city in Indonesia were arrested for allegedly administering 20,000 tests with reused swabs.
Two human rights lawyers are suing Kimia Farma for compensation, scmp.com reported on Wednesday.
The tests in question were conducted at Kualanamu airport in Medan.
The employees were arrested after the police received tips about the swabs. An undercover police officer tested at the lab received a false positive but tested negative when swabbed at the police station, the New York Times reported.
Indonesian police said more than 9,000 passengers may have been affected by the rapid test kits, which were used starting December 17. The estimate of impacted passengers is based on the firm using a mix of new and old on 100 to 200 customers daily since.
Kualanamu airport has been working with Kimia Farma for passenger tests, with the pharmaceutical company charging $14 for each test, according to South China Morning Post.
The lawyers, Ranto Sibarani and Kamal Pane, plan to affix $69,000 of damages per passenger who was impacted by the fraud. The lawsuit is expected to be filed as a collective or class action claim.
Indonesia has confirmed more than 1.6 million cases and 46,000 deaths from Covid-19, the largest totals in Southeast Asia, with 5,285 new infections and 212 new deaths reported on Wednesday.
Cases have been decreasing in the country but it has prohibited travel during the popular homecoming period to celebrate Eid al Fitr after seeing a significant rise in the mortality rate last year after the holiday marking the end of Ramadan.
The ban started Thursday and will last for 12 days, exempting only civil servants, police and military officers, and those who need to travel for work.
READ MORE: Indonesia bans Ramadan exodus over coronavirus fears
READ MORE: Bogus but harmless Covid-19 vaccines seized in Mexico and Poland