Enter 2020.04.18 08:00

‘Corona Diagnostic Kit’ transaction appeared in mask information sharing room
Buy a diagnostic kit for $13-$15 per piece for $21… Resale leaves margins in foreign countries
Domestic distribution is illegal, exports are possible… Complicity in procedures, fraud, etc.

“OO corporate diagnostic kits, sold for $21 each. There’s stuff.”

On The 17th, kakaotalk open (anonymous) chat “Mask Trading Room” posted that it would sell corona diagnostic kits. The seller emphasized the “spot”, which is in stock, so that it is possible to buy goods immediately. He also promoted that if purchased in large quantities, it could be sold at a lower price of $3 to $4. When a member of the chat room who saw the article asked, “Do you have any products, other than the company’s products?” the seller asked them to talk about the details in a one-on-one conversation.

A new corona diagnostic reagent kit approved for emergency use by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration in February. /Yonhap News

In addition, a number of articles have been posted about the sale and purchase of diagnostic kits in the katok chat room related to masks. In the chat room, there was an article with sales information such as “I have 100,000 test machines (diagnostic kits), find buyers who want to export, and how much is the price per kit?”

As the corona situation continues to escalate, the diagnostic kit “Sajagi” followed by a mask is on the rise. At first, katok chat rooms were used as a place for people to buy and sell masks that had skyrocketed prices. However, the domestic corona confirmor number is maintained 20 people on day 5, as the mask supply is also stabilized chat room trading items gradually, it is to move from the mask to the diagnostic kit.

◇ In the popularity of the diagnostic kit in Korea… Overseas resellers emerge

Most of the chat room participants are resellers who want to get a diagnostic kit and re-sell it to a foreign country. The superiority of the diagnostic kit sparked by the corona situation was known to overseas, unlike in korea where the confirmer trend has been dampened, in countries around the world, such as the United States, Europe, Japan, corona confirmor surged in demand for diagnostic kits increased. Resellers can buy diagnostic kits cheaply in Korea and leave margins if they can send them to foreign countries.

According to the diagnostic kit industry, the price of the diagnostic kit varies by situation, but typically the level of $13-15 per test machine. Resellers are mostly bought products for more than $20, leaving more than twice the margin to sell to foreign countries.

A diagnostic kit Company A official said, “In the situation where the diagnostic kit symptoms occur worldwide, 90% of the volume is traded through the government, kotra, and embassies,” but “the competition is fierce in foreign countries to secure the quantity of diagnostic kits first because there are many people who want to have a corona test, such as asymptomatic. Therefore, we know that some of the volume is traded through resellers and brokers.”

A cosmetics company sells corona 19 diagnostic kits on the Kotra Website. This site is used by domestic companies to sell goods to overseas buyers. As a result, the manufacturer of the diagnostic kit had never provided a diagnostic kit to the manufacturer. / Baikorea homepage capture

In fact, there were many articles asking about mass purchases in the katokbang. On the 14th and 15th, the mask-related katokbang also posted that “200,000 people need a diagnostic kit right now.” One seller said, “Take the product. Spot. It’s a little priced.” Another seller said, “We can pull 2000 kits by 1-2 may. It’s a personal talk,” he wrote.

Some of the kits are available for “○○ company, diagnostic kits are available” and “Do you not have any products” There was also a conversation asking for your preferred product, such as quantity of unit price. On behalf of open chat rooms where some sellers talk anonymously, some sellers were encouraged to personal chat one-on-one, send diagnostic kit descriptions, and show them a quality assurance certificate.

The diagnosis kit sales article started coming up in the online group katokbang to buy and sell masks. / KakaoTalk capture

Orders for diagnostic kits began in earnest in early April. This is due to the Ministry of Health and Welfare selected corona 19 diagnostic testing products such as sample collection kits and diagnostic reagents on January 1. When three Korean companies announced that they had exported their diagnostic kits to the United States on 15 March, more articles were written seeking the company’s goods.

An official of the Korea External Diagnostic Medical Device Association said, “Infectious disease diagnostic kits are rare because the medical device market is large in Europe and the United States, and many companies have accumulated technology during the Sassaand Mers crisis, and it is evaluated as having built up reliability and performance during the corona crisis.”

◇ Diagnostic kit popularity, fraud sale… You have to check the contract or distributor
However, experts point out that these diagnostic kit transactions can be illegal. Currently, corona 19 diagnostic kits must be approved for emergency use by the Centers for Disease Control in order to be used in the country. Most of the products listed in the Katok room are approved only by the Food and Drug Administration for export, and all domestic distribution is illegal.

It is just possible to export licensed products overseas. However, the procedure is tricky and requires approval from the local country, so it is not easy to obtain a diagnostic kit to lead to sales and profits. In addition, it is not easy to obtain normal items because most diagnostic kit companies ship products through overseas distributors or partners.

It is also difficult to guarantee the quality of the product. Reagents in the diagnostic kit is sensitive to temperature and accuracy may vary depending on the storage state. Typical diagnostic kits can be stored for up to one year at minus 20 degrees Celsius. Domestic manufacturers are also working on storing and transporting corona diagnostic kits overseas at minus 20.

A Food and Drug Administration official said, “Diagnostic reagents used to diagnose diseases are medical devices,” and that “manufacturing, importing and selling unauthorized medical devices can result in imprisonment of up to five years or fines of up to 50 million won.”

The possibility of fraudulent transactions has also been raised in some cases. In relation to the specific article, such as specifying the product name or quantity of the product in katokbang, we asked each manufacturer and received an answer such as “There is no quantity in Korea” and “It is likely to be a scam” etc. In fact, the katokbang had a fraudulent experience that “i contacted them because there were 460,000 diagnostic kits, and they lied about selling them without any items.”

An official of the diagnostic kit B said, “There is no quantity in Korea.” He added, “There are frequent cases of distributors and distributors selling Corona 19 diagnostic kits, so it’s a good idea to check the contract before you buy or make sure the retailer is right.”

KakaoTalk group chat room with diagnostic kit sandle. / KakaoTalk capture



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