HK clinic run by AMH Medical Diagnostic Group that is under investigation for its sourcing of HPV vaccine closes down in Yau Ma Tei

07-Jun-2019 Intellasia | AFP | 6:00 AM Print This Post

A private clinic in Hong Kong accused of using anticancer HPV vaccines from unknown sources has shut suddenly, leaving customers demanding refunds.

A notice, dated June 5, announcing the closure and referring to legal issues was left on the front door of the facility in Yau Ma Tei, which was locked up on Wednesday with the lights off.

The clinic, run by the AMH Medical Diagnostic Group (AMH), provided the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, but came under investigation last month after the sole manufacturer of the vaccine, MSD, said it did not supply the Gardasil 9 injections to the company.

The Customs and Excise Department has arrested a man, 61, and a woman, 44, from the group in relation to the suspected breach of regulations under the Import and Export Ordinance on importing pharmaceutical products.

The pair have been released on bail pending further investigation.

About a dozen people were seen lining up on Wednesday outside the Jordan venue. Its customer base mostly comes from mainland China.

In the closure notice, AMH said the decision to wind up was due to the bank freezing the company account and its person-in-charge becoming involved in legal disputes.

The firm earlier insisted the drug it provided was from MSD and was transferred and delivered in the proper way.

A law enforcement source previously said the samples collected from AMH were found to be genuine and came from the producer.

The company insisted it was handling the matter responsibly and also promised to refund more than 2,000 patients who have not used or completed the vaccination treatments, at a cost of more than HK$10 million (US$1.3 million).

The notice from Wednesday said: “Unfortunately, the bank froze the company bank account two weeks ago and the firm’s person-in-charge was even dragged into a legal dispute. Given the situation we have no choice but to wind up and close down.”

The company said it had dismissed all staff and asked a lawyer to start the liquidation process.

“We apologise to every customer,” the statement added.

Jane Wong, from Shenzhen, who was waiting outside the clinic seeking a refund, said she represented a group of people affected.

The 33-year-old and four of her friends each paid HK$6,000 in April for a treatment package that involved three doses of the vaccine at the clinic.

But they had only taken one injection each, and were shocked to find during a random visit that it had closed on Wednesday.

She said she hoped to hear from the clinic again, adding she believed in the quality of its HPV vaccine and was willing to accept further injections or a refund.

AMH could not be reached for comment.

Local health authorities were investigating AMH last month when hundreds of patients, mostly from mainland China, swamped the facility to demand a refund after it was claimed the doses arrived via unauthorised channels.

Some had flown in from far-flung cities such as Hangzhou to remonstrate with the group, airing safety concerns and expressing anger. Some paid as much as HK$8,000 for the treatment.

A Shenzhen patient, who identified herself as Annie, 26, got a refund weeks ago, but said some fellow patients had still not received any money back and were waiting at the group’s clinic in Jordan on Wednesday.

Pro-establishment legislator Elisabeth Quat, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said she had received many complaints from the city and across the border.

“Victims felt [the group] was evading responsibility and are questioning how they can trust Hong Kong’s medical [service] and organisations,” she said.

In Hong Kong, those convicted of possessing and selling unregistered pharmaceutical products face a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a HK$100,000 (US$12,754) fine.

The HPV vaccine is taken to prevent cervical cancer as well as other human papillomavirus-related diseases, such as anal cancer and genital warts.


Category: Hong Kong

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