ICMR rejects Chinese Rapid Test Kits, asks states no to use

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Joint Secretary Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Luv Aggarwal is seen briefing media in New Delhi today

In a significant development on Monday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has directed all state governments to stop using the Chinese Rapid Test Kits with immediate effect.

Announcing this here at a daily media briefing in New Delhi today, the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare Luv Aggarwal said that these test kits were rejected by the ICMR for what it called lack of quality and ordered to return the consignments back to China. The decision has come in the wake of the country receiving a maximum number of 1396 COVID positive cases in one single day today.

Luv Aggarwal said that so far 872 people have died and 6185 have recovered and discharged from hospitals. He pointed out that nearly 68 per cent of cases are getting from 3 states including Maharashtra, Gujarat and New Delhi with Maharashtra being top on the list. “A total number of 20,835 cases were reported countrywide till date”, he said.

Replying to a query, Aggarwal clarified that government has not incurred a loss of single rupee as ICMR has not made any payment whatsoever in respect of these supplies. Because of the due process followed (not going for procurement with 100% advance amount), GoI does not stand to lose a single rupee.

For Wondfo, evaluation committee got 4 bids and the corresponding quotes received were Rs.1,204, Rs.1,200, Rs.844 and Rs.600. Accordingly, bid-offer of  Rs.600 was considered as L-1

In the meanwhile, ICMR also tried to procure the kits directly from Wondfo company in China through CGI. However, the quotation received from direct procurement had the following issues:

  • The quotation was FOB (Free on Board) without any commitment on logistics issues.
  • The quotation was on the basis of 100% direct advance without any guarantees.
  • There was no commitment to timelines.
  • Rates were communicated in US dollars without any clause for accounting for fluctuations in prices.

Hence, it was decided to go Wondfo’s exclusive distributor for India for the kit who quoted an all-inclusive price for FOB (logistics) without any clause for advance.

It needs to be also remembered that this was the first-ever effort by any Indian agency to procure such kits and the rate quoted by the bidders was the only reference point.

After receipt of some supplies, ICMR has again conducted quality checks on these kits in field conditions. Based on the scientific assessment of their performance, the order in question (Wondfo) along with the order in respect of another make found under-performing have been cancelled.