Thai authorities indict company over sale of second-hand medical gloves after CNN investigation

Thai authorities indict company over sale of second-hand medical gloves after CNN investigation

Posted: Oct 29, 2021 3:31 PM
Updated: Oct 29, 2021 3:31 PM

Thai police have indicted a company alleging it exported millions of substandard, soiled and reused medical gloves to US distributors as demand for the product worldwide surged during the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement came days after a CNN investigation exposed the practice.

Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister Jurin Laksanavisit, chair of a special government committee set up to probe CNN's report, said Paddy the Room Trading Company faced eight charges related to selling medical supplies without a permit from Thai regulators.

The company brokered deals with American firms to provide millions of dollars of medical grade nitrile gloves, but instead sent lower-quality vinyl or latex gloves hand-packed into boxes claiming they were medical grade. Some were even soiled and clearly second-hand.

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

Thai authorities have also ordered an investigation into SkyMed, a brand run by a former Thai military officer.

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

"The Thai government is taking this issue seriously and we are making sure to bring justice to damaged parties," said CIB Chief Jirabhob Bhuridej.

Some of the gloves sent to people who ordered via Paddy the Room were packed into boxes bearing the SkyMed label.

CNN previously reported that Tarek Kirschen, a Miami-based businessman, had ordered about $2 million of gloves from Paddy the Room late last year. The gloves that arrived were branded SkyMed.

"These 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 Food and Drug Administration raided a Paddy the Room warehouse where migrant workers were packing loose gloves into boxes branded SkyMed.

"Any sub-standard gloves, could be from China, Vietnam or Malaysia. They would bring these gloves in bulk, and they would not declare them as medical gloves. Then these gloves would be repacked as SkyMed and all documents would be doctored and sent to the 3rd country," Thai FDA Deputy Secretary-General Supattra Boonserm previously told CNN.

CNN's investigation began months ago. SkyMed representatives initially told CNN they would agree to an interview but then stopped returning multiple calls and emails. The company contacted CNN after our report published wanting to tell its side of the story.

On Wednesday in a lengthy on-camera interview with CNN, SkyMed's CEO Kampee Kampeerayannon denied his company was part of any repackaging operation occurring in the warehouse when it was raided.

"The owner of the warehouse, they just wanted to repack our brand and export it," he said.

Kampeerayannon said if any 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 which had permission to sell and promote SkyMed gloves, though he says the relationship ended over a year ago.

Speaking to CNN on Thursday, the Thai FDA's Boonserm said it was possible, but unproven, that SkyMed was somehow a victim of counterfeiting.

One mystery is where SkyMed sources its gloves.

Boonserm told CNN that the company has an import license to bring in medical gloves made in Vietnam, but records show SkyMed has never imported medical gloves to Thailand, nor does the company manufacture its own gloves.

Kampeerayannon acknowledged 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 contradictory answers about the number of glove suppliers it has in Thailand, he ultimately said there was just one.

Kampeerayannon claimed SkyMed has filled orders for one hundred million boxes of gloves but would not say who had purchased them.

He told CNN that US musician Nikki Lund had helped finance an order for 144 billion boxes of SkyMed gloves -- a claim that Lund emphatically denied to CNN as "not possible and ridiculous."

That many gloves would be almost 40 times more gloves than the entire world produced last year.

"You would need 200 or 300 factories to pull that off," said American PPE expert Douglas. Stein. "It's just stupid."

The-CNN-Wire
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Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845108

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161242006
Mobile741961379
Madison53291732
Shelby38328368
Baldwin38074589
Tuscaloosa36017641
Montgomery34483781
Lee25557263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22454406
Etowah20016517
Marshall18781316
Houston17729425
St. Clair16880358
Limestone16138218
Cullman16050303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14984306
Talladega14191299
DeKalb12971269
Walker12029380
Blount10715192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10161194
Coffee9415192
Colbert9341208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7255201
Russell707865
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5403130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317763
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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