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Massive scandal! Delhi's Mohalla Clinics accused of fake tests and corruption

Aam Aadmi Mohalla clinics now face accusations of conducting 'fake laboratory tests on ghost patients,' involving payments for lakhs of fraudulent tests, potentially totalling hundreds of crores. The scandal implicates doctors marking attendance through pre-recorded videos, while non-medical staff allegedly prescribe tests and medicines

Massive scandal! Delhi's Mohalla Clinics accused of fake tests and corruption
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First Published Jan 4, 2024, 6:44 PM IST

A new scandal has erupted surrounding Delhi's health facilities with the Aam Aadmi Mohalla clinics now being accused of engaging in 'fake laboratory tests on ghost patients' following the earlier revelation of 'spurious drugs' in government hospitals. The allegations suggest that payments for lakhs of fake tests have been funneled to private labs, potentially amounting to hundreds of crores. 

Doctors are implicated in marking attendance through pre-recorded videos, and non-medical staff allegedly prescribe tests and medicines to patients. The investigation has uncovered that the mohalla clinics in Delhi were conducting tests in the names of patients visiting government hospitals, redirecting payments to private labs. 

The Lieutenant Governor, V K Saxena, has recommended a CBI inquiry into the matter, drawing parallels with a previous drug supply scandal in the region.

Fake or non-existent mobile numbers were allegedly used to mark the entry of patients, raising concerns about the legitimacy of the reported cases. The drugs found to be of sub-standard quality included critical life-saving antibiotics, such as Cephalexin, used for the treatment of lung and urinary tract infections. Other drugs, including the steroid Dexamethasone, anti-epilepsy drug Levetiracetam, and anti-hypertension drug Amlodepin, also failed quality tests.

The communication from the Directorate of Vigilance has stressed the need for a comprehensive investigation into the entire supply chain, beyond the Central Procurement Agency, and the lifting of the corporate veil to understand the motives behind supplying sub-standard drugs.

The vigilance department report submitted to the Lieutenant Governor indicates that out of the 43 samples sent to government laboratories, three failed the test, and 12 reports were pending. Additionally, five out of 43 samples sent to private laboratories were found to be sub-standard.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has criticized the Arvind Kejriwal-led government over the Mohalla Clinics revelations. Delhi BJP spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi raised concerns about the clinics' efficiency, pointing out that if they saw 533 patients within 240 minutes, it would mean seeing a patient for just half a minute.

In response to the accusations, Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj revealed that a complaint was received on September 20, leading to the termination of services for 26 medical staff with a warning of strict action. He emphasized the need for random checks by the Directorate General of Health Services and the health secretary, as the government has not appointed the necessary staff.

The situation has further intensified with the Lieutenant Governor recommending a CBI inquiry, suggesting potential multi-state stakeholders' involvement in the Mohalla Clinics scandal.

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