Thai authorities indict company for selling used medical gloves after CNN investigation


Thai Food and Drug Administration Deputy Chief Supattra Boonserm said Paddy the Room Trading Company faces eight charges related to producing medical supplies without permission from Thai regulators.

The company negotiated deals with US companies to supply millions of dollars worth of medical-grade nitrile gloves, but instead sent lower-quality vinyl or latex gloves hand-wrapped in boxes claiming they were medical grade. Some were even soiled and obviously used.

Paddy the Room did not respond to multiple requests for comment over several months.

Thai authorities have set up a special government committee to investigate the findings of the CNN report. An investigation was also ordered into SkyMed, a brand run by a former Thai military officer.

Thailand’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CIB) told CNN it is working closely with the FBI on the SkyMed investigation.

“The Thai government takes this issue seriously and we are working to bring justice to the aggrieved parties,” said CIB chief Jirabhob Bhuridej.

Some of the gloves sent to people who ordered through Paddy the Room were packaged in boxes with the SkyMed tag.

CNN previously reported that Miami-based businessman Tarek Kirschen ordered around $ 2 million worth of gloves from Paddy the Room late last year. The gloves that arrived were SkyMed brand.

“They were reused gloves. They were washed, recycled,” he told CNN. “Some of them were dirty. Some of them had bloodstains … I couldn’t believe my eyes.”

In December last year, the Thai FFDA raided a warehouse in Paddy the Room where migrant workers were packing loose gloves in boxes bearing the SkyMed mark.

Nitrile gloves shipped to the United States by the Thai company Paddy the Room Trading Company.  These examples, seen by CNN, show obvious signs of previous use - pen handwriting and other smears.

“Any lower quality gloves could be from China, Vietnam, or Malaysia. They would bring these gloves in bulk and not declare them as medical gloves. Then those gloves would be repackaged as SkyMed and all documents would be forged and sent to the 3rd country, ”Boonserm told CNN.

The CNN investigation began months ago. SkyMed representatives first told CNN they would accept an interview, but then stopped returning multiple calls and emails. The company reached out to CNN after our report was released, wanting to share their side of the story.

In a lengthy on-camera interview with CNN on Wednesday, SkyMed CEO Kampee Kampeerayannon denied that his company was part of a repackaging operation taking place in the warehouse during the raid.

“The warehouse owner, they just wanted to repackage our brand and export it,” he said.

Kampeerayannon said that if gloves are exported from Thailand under the SkyMed brand, it is “not under our permission,” he told CNN.

The CEO said Paddy the Room was “one of hundreds” of SkyMed brokers who had permission to sell and promote SkyMed gloves, although he said the relationship ended more than a year.

Speaking to CNN on Thursday, Thai FDA’s Boonserm said it was possible, but not proven, that SkyMed was somehow the victim of counterfeiting.

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One of the mysteries is where SkyMed gets its gloves.

Boonserm told CNN the company had an import license to import medical gloves made in Vietnam, but records show SkyMed never imported medical gloves into Thailand and the company does not manufacture its own. gloves.

Kampeerayannon admitted to CNN that SkyMed does not have its own factory and does not have a license to produce medical gloves in Thailand.

After giving CNN conflicting answers on how many glove suppliers he has in Thailand, he ultimately said there were none.

Kampeerayannon claimed SkyMed filled orders for one hundred million glove boxes but did not say who bought them.

He told CNN that American musician Nikki Lund helped fund an order for 144 billion boxes of SkyMed gloves – a claim Lund flatly denied to CNN as “impossible and ridiculous.”

This number of gloves would represent nearly 40 times more gloves than the whole world produced last year.

“You would need 200 or 300 factories to do this,” said US PPE expert Douglas. Stein. “It’s just stupid.”

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly attributed a quote about Paddy the Room’s accusations against the Thai Deputy Prime Minister. Additionally, the number of Thai glove suppliers claimed by SkyMed has been corrected to zero.

About Emilie Brandow

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