|Covid nasal swab testing has become routine in many countries hit by the global pandemic. Kimia Farma, which is headquartered in the capital Jakarta, has since fired the staff involved and promised to tighten internal controls. (File photo by= EPA)|
[Asia News Communication = Reporter Reakkana] Several employees of a pharmaceutical company were arrested in Indonesia for allegedly washing and reselling used Covid nasal swab test kits. BBC reported that around 9,000 passengers at an airport in Medan might have been tested with the reused swab sticks, say police.
State-owned company Kimia Farma is now reportedly facing a potential lawsuit launched on behalf of the travelers. Police said they believed the scam started in December at Kualanamu airport in Medan, North Sumatra. Passengers are required to have a negative test if they want to fly, and the airport offers the option of getting the swabs done on-site. Airport authorities had used antigen rapid test kits supplied by Kimia Farma.
After complaints from passengers that they had received false-positive test results, police sent an undercover officer to pose as a passenger last week, reported local news outlet Detik. Last week, five Kimia Farma employees - including the company's Medan manager - were arrested. The suspects are accused of breaking health and consumer laws by washing nasal swab sticks and repackaging them for sale. Local media said authorities have compiled reports from 23 witnesses, and are investigating whether they profit from the scam - estimated to be around 1.8bn rupiah (£89,700; $124,800) - was used to fund the construction of a lavish house for one of the suspects.