Post & whistle blower support Dr. Saha's claim
of using the Defective HIV-Testing Kits in India
LA, Sep. 28, 2007
India has the world's second largest population and one of the
fastest growing economies in the world. We, NRIs hope economic
growth will force better governance, and better governance will
feed more economic growth. Corruption is the biggest problem in
India. Huge amounts are spent on infrastructure and it will be
a mess till there is some accountability. The average person is
just trying to survive, they really don't care if the country
becomes a superpower or not.
Political corruption, poor infrastructure, red tape at every
level of business can be tolerated but False negative results
from Defective HIV-Testing Kits used in India
under the World Bank Funding $250 million new
anti-HIV program in association with NACO will not a safe blood
supply to millions and spread hepatitis or HIV to people who receive
the tainted blood through transfusions.
Example of one case in US:
The donor who had supplied the blood that Jones received during
his operation had the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, which
causes AIDS. One month later, Jones tested positive for AIDS.
Read one case
Dr.Saha's message is very clear and needs a action for the welfare
of all brothers and sisters.
Yesterday, a very popular news popular "Washington
Post" and one non-profit organization unveil
Doctor Presses Bank on HIV Tests
India Kits Defective, Specialist Claims
By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 28, 2007; Page D01
A doctor retained by the World Bank to examine a program to combat
the spread of HIV in India has been warning officials for months
that defective testing kits could be putting people at risk.
Kunal Saha, an AIDS specialist who visited India early this year
at the behest of the bank, has pressed authorities to release
a public report based on the inquiry. He also wants officials
to ensure that the kits, which he says have produced false negative
results, are removed from hospitals and blood banks. Saha said
he has evidence that some of the questionable kits were in use
as recently as April.
If people are getting HIV because of defective test kits, it's
horrendous, it's unthinkable," Saha said in a telephone interview.
The doctor, a self-described crusader who founded a patients
rights group in India after his wife died because of medical mistakes
nearly 10 years ago, furnished copies of letters and e-mail messages
he sent top World Bank personnel, including former president Paul
D. Wolfowitz, President Robert B. Zoellick and General Counsel
Ana Palacio, in June and July asking them to take action. Bank
officials told him they were finalizing a report, but Saha says
the issue is urgent and he plans to take his case public today.
Kees Kostermans, the World Bank's lead public-health specialist
in South Asia, said in an interview yesterday that a bank report
on the issue is still a couple of months away from completion.
But he said the bank had no specific evidence that HIV had been
transmitted in India because of faulty diagnostic tests. Kostermans
said the bank's partners at India's National AIDS Control Organization
(NACO) have assured him that substandard test kits were no longer
being purchased and that none remained in use.
"We have been looking into all of these matters very intensively,"
The bank did not purchase the allegedly flawed test kits directly.
Instead, NACO dealt with state agencies and suppliers, Saha said.
Beatrice Edwards, who monitors World Bank operations for the
Government Accountability Project in Washington and who is helping
Saha, demanded stricter oversight and a rapid public accounting
of the problems. "If there's any project in the portfolio
that needs to be monitored and where the equipment needs to be
safeguarded, this is it," Edwards said.
World health experts estimate that nearly 3 million people in
India have HIV. In recent years, questions about the effectiveness
of tests for HIV, hepatitis and other serious illnesses have spread
across the country, along with reports of glitches in manufacturing
and storage, financial corruption and fraud. Last year, Indian
authorities filed charges against Monozyme India Ltd., which serves
as an in-country distributor for some of the products Saha has
criticized, in connection with flawed hepatitis screening tests,
according to Indian press reports.
Saha, a professor at Ohio State University, traveled to India
as a bank consultant as part of a team investigating possible
problems with the $230 million AIDS control project the World
Bank funded between 1999 and 2006. It was his first experience
serving as a consultant to the bank, which approached him, Saha
Over five weeks in March and April, Saha and two India-based
medical specialists visited hospitals and blood banks in major
cities, collecting lab documents that he says suggest faulty testing
kits wrongly assured people that they were not exposed to the
virus. He cited 2004 and 2005 test results from two Indian hospitals
in which blood samples that were known to be HIV-positive instead
tested negative during a second, confirmatory test performed with
The bank has not made public a draft report from the visit by
Saha and the other two doctors. The draft warns of serious quality
issues with HIV tests at blood banks and testing centers between
2003 and 2006, according to a copy of the April 26 e-mail.
This year, bank officials allocated $250 million more to a new
anti-HIV program in association with NACO after deeming the previous
False positive results can lead blood banks to discard and waste
otherwise useful blood. But false negative results carry more
troublesome consequences: They can spread hepatitis or HIV to
people who receive the tainted blood through transfusions. Saha
said he found a document suggesting that questionable kits were
available for use as late as April, despite public statements
from Indian health workers and World Bank officials in the country
that defective test kits had been removed from the shelves.
In an interview, the bank's Kostermans said he believed Saha
was "mistaken" about the origin and make of the test
kits he saw on the shelves in India earlier this year. The ones
on the shelves, Kostermans said, posed no public health threat.
"It is in nobody's interest to have poor-quality test kits,"
Saha took his concerns to the highest levels of the bank. He
provided e-mail messages and letters reflecting that he had talked
by phone with Wolfowitz shortly before the former Bush administration
official left the bank this summer. Wolfowitz did not return a
call or e-mails yesterday.
Saha spoke with reporters in India in July. Later he flew to
Washington and spent at least two hours briefing mid-level staff
members at the bank, including Kostermans, about his concerns
Aug. 23. Another member of the three-physician team, Anil Gupta,
declined to comment on the issues when reached by cellphone in
India yesterday. Gupta cited a confidentiality agreement he signed
with the bank when he became a consultant.
World Bank Funding
Use of Defective HIV-Testing Kits
September 28, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bea Edwards, International Director
Phone: 202.408.0034 ext 155, 202.841.1391
Contact: Dylan Blaylock, Communications Director
Phone: 202.408.0034 ext 137, 202.236.3733 (cell)
World Bank Funding Use of Defective
‘False Negative’ Readings Prominent in Materials
used in India;
Corrective Steps not Taken Despite Expert’s Warnings
(Washington, D.C.) – A client of the Government Accountability
Project (GAP) has come forward with evidence that World Bank funds
have been used over a period of years to purchase defective HIV
test kits, which have been supplied by the Indian government to
hospitals and blood banks across the country. The kits, distributed
by Monozyme, Ltd., frequently give ‘false negative’
readings, meaning that HIV-contaminated blood will appear to be
‘clean’ and suitable for distribution. ...Click
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