Black market coronavirus test kits flogged by Scottish newsagent


A newsagent takes advantage of the coronavirus epidemic by selling controversial antibody tests.

Nadeem Anwar boasted that he sold 1,000 boxes of devices – which he admits are not 100% accurate – to a chain of pharmacies.

The trader also said he had 4,000 boxes that he sold £ 750 each and was expecting 9,000 more to arrive from China.

Watchdogs warned yesterday that his unscrupulous sideline is illegal and told the public to stay away.

Covid 19 test kits on sale in Glasgow

But Anwar said, “I like to be at the forefront or try to be ahead of the game whenever there is a growing demand for things that could help the community or the general public.

“I have friends and family in the biomedical and pharmaceutical industry. I know a trader with these kits is weird but it is a bargain.

“I hardly make any money with that, the profit margin is small. “

Anwar received a batch of kits last week – a month after placing his order, he said. Each box contains 25 tests, which means it has enough to screen 100,000 people.

The businessman said the devices – which appear to be made by the Chinese pharmaceutical company Yuno Diagnostics Co Ltd – are 92% accurate.

The home antibody test kits evaluated by the British government have all been found to be too imprecise to be used. The health ministry said it would ask for its money after purchasing three million unusable home tests in China.

It is feared that people mistakenly think they are immune to Covid-19 and are still at risk of getting sick.

Other countries, including Spain and Italy, have rejected China’s tests on doubts about their accuracy.

Antibody tests that identify people who have recovered from a coronavirus are considered a key element in finding a way out of the lock.

Anwar sells the Partick Superstore kits on Dumbarton Road, Glasgow.

Nadeem Anwar sells coronavirus test kits

Pharmaceutical watchdog, the Health Products and Medicines Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said Anwar was selling the kits illegally and was working with partners to fight “criminal activity” .

Anwar said, “I have certifications to prove that my tests are legitimate if someone in authority challenges me. The kits are CE and MHRA registered. I am untouchable.

“They’re 92% accurate – I think it’s good enough for people to use. I sold 1000 to a pharmacy chain, I don’t mean which one.

“These kits are available to me to supply any government agency, general practitioners’ offices, clinics, pharmacies and any major employer.

“I don’t understand how to get these antibody kits, but the NHS can’t.

“These should be used on the front line workers, they could get the kits from me.” It may be because they come from China and the government does not trust the Chinese. Too bad. I tested my whole family and they all came back negative. Each test takes about 15 minutes to produce a result, it’s simple. ”

Anwar of Pollokshields in Glasgow added: “It is not about the money.

“I don’t charge as much as some people selling kits. They want hundreds of pounds per test. I have a box of 25 for £ 750, or £ 30 per test. ”

CE marking is a certification that indicates compliance with health, safety and environmental standards for products sold in the European Economic Area (EEA). It is also found on products sold outside the EEA that have been manufactured to their standards.

The coronavirus was first detected in China in December.

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Coronavirus in Scotland

Since then, the virus has killed more than 100,000 people.

Last week, Professor Sir John Bell of the University of Oxford, who is examining anti-coronavirus antibody test kits for the British government, said that of those tested so far, none have ” performed well “and” none of them would meet the criteria for a good test “.

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said: “Any black market for coronavirus tests must be closed immediately.

“It’s just too important to mess around. Tests must be officially approved and orchestrated by experts, not sold in the back of the truck. “

Lib Dem Health’s Scottish spokesperson, Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, said, “Everyone wants to see the tests grow quickly, but the reality is that medical experts don’t believe we are at a stage where it there is a reliable ready-to-run antibody test. Anyone who claims the opposite risks giving false hope to the public and, even worse, risks those who trust these tests to further spread the virus.

“I urge that these products be withdrawn from circulation until medical experts are satisfied that they are reliable and accurate. “

Scottish Labor spokesperson Monica Lennon said, “If these so-called coronavirus test kits are not good enough for the NHS, a Glasgow newsagent certainly shouldn’t be harassing them.

“No one should raise huge sums of money for tests that have not been approved for clinical use in the UK. Irresponsible and dangerous practices could endanger lives and must be eliminated. “

An MHRA spokesperson said, “We can confirm that there are no CE marked tests for home use and that it is illegal to supply such products.

“Patient safety is our top priority and we work with other law enforcement agencies and with partners across the government to combat this type of criminal activity.

“We are also actively investigating a number of reports of the sale of counterfeit or unlicensed products related to Covid-19.

“There are CE marked antibody tests, but all are for professional use only and should not be purchased for individual or household use.

“The MHRA has carried out regulatory checks on these CE marked products, but it is important to note that we do not confirm that these products have been examined in terms of performance or validity.”


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