Thai government moves to stop medical waste company

Journalists and the Thai government are taking action following CNN’s investigation into a Thai company that was alleged to be selling used medical gloves to unsuspecting customers. On Thursday, CNN launched an investigation into…

Thai government moves to stop medical waste company

Journalists and the Thai government are taking action following CNN’s investigation into a Thai company that was alleged to be selling used medical gloves to unsuspecting customers.

On Thursday, CNN launched an investigation into Culture University, a company whose website advertised used gloves and other medical equipment. Employees at the company gave CNN a list of what they said were more than 400 discarded gloves of varying quality. Employees also said the company sold 1,500 boxes of used gloves in a single month.

CNN’s investigation is part of a series of reports, ‘Overkill,’ which will expose companies around the world illegally selling and distributing tools and materials used in hospitals and clinics. We uncovered the alleged sale of medical gloves in Thailand after reviewing news reports and publicizing the story on Facebook. On social media, Thai readers were angered that a company would illegally sell used gloves in this way and “strongly condemned” the action.

At the time, CNN was unaware of the Thai government’s involvement in investigating Culture University and it isn’t listed in our investigation. But CNN also learned the Thai Health and Education Ministry was investigating that company and conducted its own review after CNN’s report. On Thursday the authorities officially issued an arrest warrant for Culture University on charges of illegal sale of medical equipment, falsifying documents and misleading the public.

As CNN’s investigation unfolded, Thai health officials met with employees at Culture University and told them they had been unhelpful when they had approached the company about how to correct their reputation. The company representatives claimed they were not aware that they were violating law. During a meeting with officers, Culture University agreed to complete a corrective action plan and hire an attorney.

“We have repeatedly asked Culture University to seek legal guidance on how to seek redress for their actions,” Bangkok Director of Consumer Protection and Safety HM Royalwaresamamm told CNN. “The Culture University should be more responsible by deciding on measures against their crime, including transferring the proceeds of their crime to the hospitals that were defrauded. The money obtained would be used to cover the damages from the hospitals.”

While the government had been pursuing action against Culture University, the episode highlights the need for more vigilance when it comes to companies that illegally sell medical equipment. We’re raising awareness among readers and viewers of the problems with companies using recycled items, like medical waste, to sell items used in health care and on Friday CNN will continue our work to raise awareness by highlighting best practices for reused medical gear.

Might the Bangkok Health Director’s comments have deterred similar incidents in the future?

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