Despite SC directive, 5000 path labs running illegally in Gujarat

Published On 2021-12-22 04:00 GMT   |   Update On 2021-12-22 11:37 GMT

Ahmedabad: Around 5,000 laboratories in Gujarat are not following the Supreme Court directive of 2017, according to which only an MD pathologist or MD microbiologist doctor can examine, authorize and sign pathology laboratory reports, claims president of the Gujarat Association of Pathologists and Microbiologists, Dr Dilip Dave.As per a recent media report in Times of India, multiple reports...

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Ahmedabad: Around 5,000 laboratories in Gujarat are not following the Supreme Court directive of 2017, according to which only an MD pathologist or MD microbiologist doctor can examine, authorize and sign pathology laboratory reports, claims president of the Gujarat Association of Pathologists and Microbiologists, Dr Dilip Dave.

As per a recent media report in Times of India, multiple reports of pathology laboratory being run by unqualified persons especially during the last 18 months of the Covid pandemic are coming to the surface, which is unlawful and also violative of the Supreme Court directives.

Further, various laboratories for medical diagnosis have come up in the past 18 months, many of which are run by unqualified pathologists.

Also Read: Aster Labs launches its Advanced Pathology Lab in Karnataka

Dr Dilip Dave, president of the Gujarat Association of Pathologists and Microbiologists told the daily that there are over 1800-2000 laboratories in Gujarat which were run by qualified pathologists who holds a degree in MD Pathology or a diploma in Clinical Pathology, done after MBBS.

Dr. Dave said, "Compared to this, there could be about 5,000 laboratories in Gujarat that are not following the Supreme Court directive of 2017, according to which only an MD pathologist or MD microbiologist doctor can examine, authorize and sign pathology laboratory reports."

Dr Rajendra Lalani, a pathologist and past president of the association stated that the issue of pathology labs being run by unqualified people was raised by them multiple times, but no action has been taken yet. He added, "Just like crackdowns on quacks, the administration should ensure that pathology laboratories which are key to disease diagnosis are run by qualified professionals."

According to experts, the majority of pathology laboratories in Gujarat are owned and operated by laboratory technicians, who are required to work under the supervision of the pathologists. As per the association, these technicians have the authority to sign reports without the presence of pathologists.

TOI reports that many qualified professionals certify the pathology lab reports without any personal supervision and allow private labs to use scanned copies of their signature.

A medical expert noted, "It has come to our notice that some pathologists working at government colleges are also involved in these unlawful practices by 'selling' their signatures to private laboratories."

The expert gave the In one similar case, the signature of a pathologist working at a government hospital was illegally used by laboratories in nine different places consisting of Vadodara, Karjan, Bodeli, Halol and other places, which signifies the severity of the problem.

Dr. Lalani said that the association had filed a review petition in the Supreme Court stating that the top court's orders were not being followed. He added that in many cases, the pathologists were signatories for reports, for which they charge high fees.

He said, "They charge a lab between Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 a month to use their signature in reports." These labs often collaborate with qualified professionals who in turn sell their signatures and authorize technicians, who are sometimes qualified BSC- MLT and at other times, non-qualified individuals to use their name and signature on reports.

He added that such practices are rampant and is spread across the country. He added that signatures of pathologists on lab reports also make it difficult for patients to get legal help when they approach consumer court.

Dr Mehul Shah, secretary of the Gujarat chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) said, "Laboratory reports play an important part in health diagnostics. There are cases, such as for low platelet counts, where pathologists verify the figures shown by the machine. The issue at hand is that in the absence of a pathologist, there can be loopholes in the report which can compromise treatment of patients."

Also Read:Maha Govt forms fresh panel including doctors, paramedics, others to regulate path labs

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