Plain water, coloring and some chemicals are made into a jelly-like mixture that a company in Hanoi has been selling as ultrasound gel. Photo credit: Cong An Nhan Dan
Officials in Hanoi just found a company providing several hospitals with a cheap fake ultrasound gel, which they said can falsify results.
Police and market watchdog officers caught a group of workers mixing water, coloring agents and some chemicals at Chemical, Cosmetics and Medical Equipment Company in Dong Da District.
Though the production has not been licensed, the company has been selling the gel under the brand Smilesonog to several hospitals and clinics in Hanoi and nearby provinces for the past six months at VND10,000 (45 US cents) a liter. That is five times cheaper than a common product.
Ultrasound gel is a conductive medium that enables a tight bond between the skin and the probe.
Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, chief image analyst at the Central Ob-Gyn Hospital, said poor quality gel can affect imaging results and lead to wrong diagnosis.
Dermatologists are also worried about possible skin allergies.
Police have seized 900 liters of the gel from the company and test results are still pending.
So far, there have been no reports on any negative effects from using the gel.
The names of the hospitals that bought the gel have not been released.