Over 500 illegal pathology labs in Mumbai: Survey

Association alleges most labs have been flouting rule that bars technicians with diploma

Sandeep Yadav, president, Maharashtra Association of Practising Pathologists and Microbiologists

Around 500 pathology labs in Mumbai are functioning illegally, a new survey has revealed. The labs are blatantly disregarding a state rule, which bars technicians, who have acquired a diploma in medical laboratory technology (DMLT).

"Every day, over Rs 500 crore is being looted from the public by these illegal pathology labs," alleged Sandeep Yadav, president of Maharashtra Association of Practising Pathologists and Microbiologists, who along with his team, carried out the survey.

"Rs.500 crore daily is the tip of the iceberg for the corporate diagnostic sector, who is eyeing to grab the whole chunk of it in the state’s diagnostic market after eliminating small scale clinical labs by all means . Even the pathology labs operating independently by pathologists can be wiped out or have to merge in the stream if corporate sector succeeds in their endeavor for monopoly." said M.Z Baig, secretary of Association Of The Hospital And Practicing Biochemists And Medical Technologists.

In May last year, the state through a GR had stated that DMLT technicians would henceforth be considered illegal. Breaking the law is punishable under the Maharashtra Medical Practitioner Act, Section 33(2).

That GR however was revoked in less than four days and a new GR was issued few days later for the lack of pathologists. The government notification said that to deal with scarcity, the state has decided that once the Maharashtra Paramedical Council Act, 2011, comes into effect, DMLT doctors who register with the council will be allowed to run labs and certify reports. 

A committee was also instituted to look into the issue. "The committee clearly states that it would be inappropriate to allow the technicians to practice and they should continue working under a pathologist’s supervision. Then, why is the government not taking any action against the labs?" Yadav asked.

In retaliation, Baig said, "The Maharashtra Para Medical Council Act 2011 is pending for a few amendments to be passed in the constituent assembly and is not yet implemented. The report fails to mention a lot of points."  

The association members have also demanded immediate suspension of Dr Pravin Shingare, director of medical education and research, who they alleged is supporting the technicians.

When contacted, Shingare called these allegations 'baseless'. "They have their own agendas," he said.

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