Government Probes Exported Counterfeit Medical Gloves Case

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered an inquiry into millions of counterfeit medical gloves allegedly shipped to the United States from Thailand.

Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit was assigned to investigate the matter following an investigative report by CNN, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said on Monday.

Around 80 million counterfeit rubber gloves had been reportedly imported into the United States from Thailand. But the Commerce Ministry had asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for more information on the case, Jurin said.

According to Pol Col Neti Wongkulap, commissioner of Sub-Division 4 at Consumer Protection Police Division (CPPD), the Crime Suppression Division dealt with both cases reported by CNN for the first time in December 2020 before forwarding them to public prosecutors.

There have been no fraud cases associated with unauthorized medical device production submitted to the CPPD to date, Pol Col Neti stated.

Fraud cases with medical gloves typically happen in three forms, including locally produced substandard medical gloves. The other two common fraud forms are: used gloves that had been washed for repackaging and substandard medical gloves imported from China and repackaged, Pol Col Neti explained.

The CPPD’s commissioner said the CNN report had referred to two counterfeit medical gloves cases in Thailand.

The first reported case involved medical gloves unauthorized production and repackaging, and the illegal use of two trademarks, SkyMed and Sri Trang. The second case involved counterfeit nitrite medical gloves produced by Athip Chumphon.

Last year, Athip Chumphon made headlines for allegedly hoarding millions of surgical masks during the Covid-19 outbreak, Pol Col Neti revealed.

The FDA and the police had worked together to detect and crack down on counterfeit products after medical gloves’ demand increased globally between late 2020 and early this year, he stated.

Supattra Boonserm, FDA deputy secretary-general, reportedly told CNN that other countries had seized millions of used gloves in packages containing the SkyMed trademark, but they appeared to be counterfeit products.

However, an investigation conducted by the FDA found that SkyMed had neither imported medical gloves into Thailand nor produced gloves in the country, she went on.

In December last year, authorities raided a warehouse owned by Paddy The Room Trading Co and found workers packing used gloves in new packages with the SkyMed label, Ms. Supattra stated.