With Delhi High Court unraveling the blatant profiteering amid a health-emergency, the spotlight has now turned on to the relatively lesser known company, the Dwarka, Delhi-based Rare Metabolics Life-Sciences. The firm founded by one Dr Kripa Shanker Gupta is the only distributor of rapid antibody test kits imported by Matrix Labs from China. Rare Metabolics has been found profiteering from delivery of coronavirus testing kits to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). While Matrix Labs imported the kits at Rs 245 per test, it supplied to Rare Metabolics at Rs 400 per test which in turn supplied to ICMR at a fixed price of Rs 600, plus GST.
The company was incorporated on May 22, 2015 in Dwarka, Delhi. According to the registrar of companies (ROC) details, Rare Metabolics has three directors - Kripa Shanker Gupta, Shobha Data and Shailesh Pandey. In 2019, the company's total turnover was Rs 6.19 crore. The company's net worth was Rs 22.06 lakh. The phone number 011-23179810 mentioned on ROC records does not exist.
Kripa Shanker Gupta is the founding-director of Rare Metabolics. Gupta's LinkedIn account says he is a passionate 'medi-preneur' with a deep understanding of Indian health landscape and ability to innovate new health programs in public and private health.
The lengthy description, replete with grammatical and spelling errors, mentions him as an MD (pharmacology) with over 15 years of experience in the healthcare sector. He claims in-depth understanding of Indian pharmaceutical and healthcare system with "successful stint in multinational pharma companies as Medical Director where he created excellence in KOL management platforms and patient support programs".
Contrary to Delhi High Court's verdict which exposes Rare Metabolics profiteering from the test kits, Kripa Shanker Gupta's LinkedIn profile claims the company has made healthcare technology affordable for the public.
"Dr Kripa Shanker Gupta, established RARE METABOLICS LIFE SCIENCES PRIVATE LIMITED to bring most advanced healthcare technology to India and creating access of the same to general public by making it affordable. The company was focused on bringing path braking diagnostics tests to India," the LinkedIn account says.
Kripa Shanker Gupta's LinkedIn profile also throws light on his company's dentistry-related business. "His love to bring latest technology made him venture into dental field and establish RARE DENTISTRY to bring the CBCT machine to Delhi at most economical rates for the general public. He also established the advanced CAD /CAM center for dentistry is established in North India. The center intends to disrupt the current dental prosthetics in terms of best quality at an affordable price and lightening time period," the account says.
The issue of profiteering and over-pricing came to light when the court was hearing a legal dispute between distributor Rare Metabolics and the importer Matrix Labs. The dispute arose over the release of the 2.24 lakh kits -- of the 5 lakh imported from China -- to the ICMR.
The total amount to be paid by Rare Metabolics to Matrix Labs for the total 5 lakh kits imported from China was Rs 21 crore (including GST). Of this, Rs 12.25 crore had already been paid to Matrix. The respondent Matrix demanded payment of the remaining amount before delivery of the remaining 2.24 lakh tests to Rare Metabolics. However, the petitioner Rare Metabolics maintained the payment could only be made after ICMR released the funds.
Meanwhile, ICMR has asked the state governments to not to use China-made rapid testing kits after their results were not found satisfactory. ICMR has written to them to stop using Guangzhou Wondfo Biotech and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics testing kits. "States have now been told to not use these kits and return them to be sent back to the suppliers," ICMR said in a statement. The government will not lose any money on the deal as it didn't opt for a 100 per cent advance payment system and is yet to pay the distributors, ICMR also said.