As the old popular adage goes, when there is a dire situation, you can be sure there are people taking advantage. Wars, floods, famines, tsunamis or epidemics, history is replete with profiteers who have made their money riding on human misery and fears.
COVID 19 is a global tragedy. One would assume that when the worst times are upon people, it would bring out the best in them. It has, in a very substantial way, as one would see, in the angelic services of the medical fraternity, the law enforcement bodies and other front-line essential services. On the other hand it has also given rise to profiteers for whom human lives are no cost at all to make a quick buck.
My note today attempts to bring focus on the areas where this is blatantly happening at the cost of the lives of gullible consumers. I also want this to reach the relevant authorities as a plea to stringent preventive and punitive measures and actions.
Masks, Contactless Infrared Thermometers and PPE are the most in demand items in these times and become the perfect preying grounds for the vultures of greed.
For example, in the case of infrared thermometers, mobile accessories traders with no understanding of the chip level electronics, spectrum range, accuracy range, sensitivity, error management, calibration certificate or any means of quality assurance are filling the markets with goods that may have been sold off to them by any of the Chinese ragtag assemblers with no quality checks or certifications.
Similar cases of spurious N95 masks being provided as essential PPE to health care workers are everyday news now. Business Insider report claims 3M recently sued the company Performance Supply LLC for fraudulently presenting itself as an authorized distributor of masks in the US. Now, if such cases are found and reported in the US where the governing body has stringent requirements and checks, we can only imagine what might have been happening in countries who do not have such developed systems for quality checks.
Speaking of masks, our Honorable PM, Mr. Narendra Modi, has advised many a time and also through example asked people to go for home-made solutions like dupatta or gamcha as special masks like N95 are necessary only for health workers who are at maximum risk of exposure to virus.
Let’s take a look at another similar case study. The Haryana Food and Drug Administration busted a fake hand sanitizer manufacturing company and seized at least 5,000 hand sanitizers this week. A Senior Drug Control official said the company was manufacturing industrial oils and had just started manufacturing hand sanitizers.
I urge India’s highest drug advisory body, the Drug Technical Advisory Body (DTAB) to ensure these critical products will come out soon with quality assurance certificates from the government; and regulations regarding manufacturing, import and sale of such devices in the country will be announced. Needless to say, this needs to be fast tracked on a war footing.
In the meantime, we appeal to the conscience of the organisations and individuals involved in these businesses, from manufacturers to the last person on the supply chain to reflect and choose the ethical way, to provide genuine PPE and preventive equipment to health care professionals and general consumers and choose humanity over greed.
In conclusion, I would like to share a personal belief with respect to business strategy. I have always trusted a flexible and agile framework to my business. I would like it to be ADAPTIVE; to allow me to align my business effortlessly to situations and opportunities. So I do not rule out a situation where we as Corseca would not get into a business like Protective Care Equipment and Supplies. But if and when we do it, it will confirm to the best international quality standards available and we will provide safe and technologically cutting-edge products and services.