CNN Investigation Unearths Medical Gloves Scam in Thailand

Thai authorities announced Wednesday the arrest of the head of a company alleged of cheating foreign customers of millions of dollars they paid for undistributed medical rubber gloves during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Police in Thailand have been cracking down on the surge in rubber glove scams, including the sale of used and substandard medical gloves.

A Florida-based company filed an accusation that Thailand’s Sufficiency Economy City Co. failed to deliver supplies of 2 million packages of nitrile gloves of about $15.5 million for which it had allocated a 40 percent deposit.

Thai authorities said two other companies, from Hong Kong and France, also filed complaints about the provider which marked gloves branded SkyMed.

The Sufficiency Economy City’s CEO, Kampee Kampeerayannon, was arrested Tuesday on accusations of fraud and posting false information online.

Shortages of Basic Medical Supplies Continue

Keeping a medical facility running with a full complement of necessary essentials has been a job complicated in recent months by shortages.

Unlike early in the pandemic, when it was complicated to find disposable medical exam gloves, masks, and gowns – also known as personal protective equipment – now there are different supplies that are lacking. And, to complicate the situation, it varies day by day.

Hospitals now access different products on different days, and nothing makes sense anymore. Aluminum crutches have been a problem for many across the nation and continue to be so, with hospital officials from Southeast Michigan waking up every morning to potential new shortages. But with their savviness at finding suppliers, planning ahead, and problem-solving, patients have not suffered.

However, despite government attempts to remove shipping bottlenecks, medical facilities continue struggling to find common medical supplies. These shortages were predictable, but experts believed that disruptions would diminish as economies respond and demand stabilizes. The thing is, a lot of people were dismissive of it, and they weren’t sure whether it was a temporary or permanent thing, but it persisted.

Essential medical supplies are becoming more difficult to find while suppliers are growing less reliable amid a global shipping crisis. Distributors are expecting lengthy backorders for suction canisters, bedpans, IV kits, certain respiratory supplies, and other basic products.

There’s currently a massive shortage of aluminium crutches which pushed certain providers to rely on donations of used crutches, wheelchairs, and walkers to fill the growing need. This uncertainty is reportedly a ripple effect caused by an aluminium shortage that hit Chinese manufacturers who exported a huge portion of the products to American hospital groups.

In recent weeks, the Biden administration requested information from medical supply distributors to identify potential risks and understand the problem’s scope. So far, it’s unclear how many medical supply containers face transportation delays or how seriously that affects patient care.

President Joe Biden has taken steps to reduce shipping bottlenecks and promote domestic chain resiliency. He reached an agreement with major unions to ensure the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles remained open 24/7.

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