RAWALPINDI: Irregularities worth millions of rupees have been found in supply of kits for carrying out polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for diagnoses of Hepatitis-C in public hospitals across Punjab, The Express Tribune has learnt.
According to experts and sources in the health department, the Punjab’s health services directorate general purchased 445 kits for the year 2015-2016 to carry out 60,520 tests but the supplier company provided the kits only for 44,500 tests with due approval of the health department.
One kit can be used to carry out a maximum of 100 tests only according to experts but the supplier had claimed that 136 tests could be carried out using one kit.
Medical experts explained that there are 13 strips in one kit and every strip contained eight wells to put in blood samples to carry out the PCR tests.
Out of the 13 strips, one strip is used for negative control to check the quality of the kit used for carrying out the test.
The experts further said that four extra strips were provided with one kit.
Each of the four extra strips contained standards for PCR tests.
One standard strip is used to match with the actual result for the PCR.
Chemical House, the company that provided the kits, have included the four extra strips containing samples as to be used to carry out actual tests.
In this way, the company mentioned 136 tests for one kit against actual 100 tests.
One PCR kit costs Rs130,000 and the amount is paid for 100 tests.
The Punjab Health Department paid for 445 kits and the kits would be used to carry out 44,500 tests only.
The company, however, had claimed that the kits were enough for 60,520 tests.
On the other hand, 605 kits were required to carry out 60,520 tests as shown by the supplier company.
In this way, the company had saved about 160 kits, saving as much as Rs20.8 million.
The sources have said that the same company provided a similar number of kits for 44,500 tests for 2014-2015.
It may be mentioned here that the public hospitals in Punjab were providing the PCR tests free of cost as one such test cost from Rs13,000 to Rs15,000 from private laboratories.
According to statistics, every 10th person in Pakistan suffers from hepatitis of one kind or another.
Efforts were made to contact the Punjab Health Service DG, Dr Mukhtar Shah, on his mobile phone but he could not be reached.
An email containing the query about the supply of kits returned undelivered on the official email given on the website of the directorate general of health services.