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Labs shut down for selling fake coronavirus tests, price gouging

One lab in Oaxaca was charging as much as US $709 for unlicensed tests

Government agencies have shut down private medical laboratories in Tamaulipas and Oaxaca for price gouging and selling uncertified Covid-19 tests.

Laboratorio Juárez, located in the city’s historic center, may no longer provide any lab services to the public due to reports that it was charging as much as 18,000 pesos (US $709) for unlicensed tests that cost the lab around 1,500 pesos (US $59) each.

State Health Minister Donato Casas said that so far there are no private medical laboratories certified to administer Covid-19 tests in Oaxaca.

He urged the public to avoid going to private medical centers for Covid-19 services, since it could be a scam or lead to inaccurate results.

The state health risk commission Coespris is working to certify private laboratories in order to be able to provide this service to the public safely.

In Tamaulipas, two laboratories were closed in Tampico for offering tests while not having the necessary certification to do so.

Health officials in Chihuahua also had to tell the public not to seek Covid-19 services at private laboratories in the state, saying in a press release issued on Friday that “as of now, the only institution accredited for the administration of the test is the State Laboratory of Chihuahua.”

The state Health Ministry said that citizens there had also been victims of scams and suffered adverse health effects from unscrupulous practices by private laboratories.

Federal Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said that his department is in no way impeding the ability of private labs to offer the test, but that they must first be certified.

“In the next few days we will announce the advance of this process of accreditation and disbursement of the tests to the private labs that demonstrate their competence,” he told a press conference on Saturday.

He added that there were at that time 41 government labs certified to administer the test.

Sources: Milenio (sp), AS México (sp), El Universal (sp)

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