A PRIVATE doctor has received £2.5million in one week from selling coronavirus test kits, it is claimed — while the NHS struggles to swab frontline staff.
Dr Mark Ali has been accused of profiteering from thousands of people desperate to find out whether they have contracted Covid-19.
The 56-year-old cardiologist (pictured) has sold more than 6,600 test kits for £375 each to people who fear they have the illness, The Sunday Times reported.
That is more than three times the price his supplier charges the public for the same tests. It would allow for a profit for the week of £1.7million — although he uses an intermediary firm and has had to hire temporary staff to answer the phones amid huge demand.
Labour’s Jon Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, accused Dr Ali of exploiting people’s fears about a lack of testing across the country.
He said: ‘This is an unprecedented public health crisis. People will be disgusted at profiteering behaviour like this.
‘It has to be a national priority to ramp up testing, especially for our NHS staff, and the government must stamp out this exploitative action.’
Dr Ali offers tests through his company Private Harley Street Clinic Limited, which is based at his flat in north London, miles from the renowned medical street.
According to The Sunday Times, the clinic is effectively a marketing front.
Customer details are passed on to the intermediary firm Screen4, based in Barnsley, which orders the kits from makers Randox in Crumlin, Co. Antrim.
Patients have to swab their nostrils and throat and send samples for analysis by Randox, which offers the same service direct to the public for £120.
Despite the huge hike in price, the doctor said business was booming. ‘I think we’ve done quite well actually,’ he said. He said last week his clinic had been ‘testing lords and ladies, knights, and even doctors and dentists’.
Dr Ali told The Sunday Times: ‘We’re not in the business of selling kits wholesale, right. What we’re doing is offering a complete service for our patients.’ But he admitted he had only spoken to about 50 customers. And Randox offers advice on what to do if you test positive, at no extra cost.
Its test-at-home kit is said to be the only one in the world that works but is yet to be approved by Public Health England.