Bangalore, 18/1:The unregulated sale and use of home-testing kits, the results of many of which are being insufficiently reported to the authorities, prompted the government to issue a circular on Sunday. However, it was released to the media on Monday.
This aims to document how many kits are being sold in the state and how many buyers are testing positive.
The circular follows an article by DH published on Monday, which examined the issue.
When asked about the matter, Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar had said that he would consult with experts to determine “what measures the government can take to get reporting of the test results.”
Another health official had also said he would check with his team about introducing a system of checks to regulate the kits.
In Karnataka, authorities have little idea of how many RT-PCR, RAT self-testing kits are being sold in the state on a daily basis — which the circular acknowledges.
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Ravindra Kumar M J, secretary, Bengaluru Chemists and Druggists Association, suggested that on an average, about 12,000 kits are being sold in the city alone.
Amid the lack of concrete information, the curricular notes that the Department of Health and Family Welfare has instructed the Karnataka State Drug Control Department to “take suitable action.”
Carrying and forwarding agents and distributors have to now record details of how many kits they have received and sold.
Furthermore, the Drug Control Department has to ensure that kits are not misused. “Medical shop owners have to note down the following details of buyers of such kits: their name, their home address and mobile number,” the circular states.
Those selling the kits have to also inform the buyers that they have to download the respective app of the manufacturer and upload their test reports. “If (buyers) test positive they have to inform the nearest government hospital or their doctor.”
The officers have been instructed to collect data about the sale of these kits from medical shop owners every day by 6 pm.
Kumar noted that it is relatively easy for the association to start cataloguing sales because they have a system of collecting data, but added that only about 60% of medical stores are computerised.
“The rest are still using paper billing and phone calls. But they can start uploading the required data using WhatsApp if necessary,” he said.