Businesswoman, Cheryl Bassoo, is accusing her estranged husband and prominent Biochemist,
Dr. Errol Bassoo, of malpractice at his laboratory at Cove and John on the East Coast of Demerara.
The woman told media operatives that she is part owner of the lab and had recently stumbled upon several irregularities at the facility.
She continued that having her name alongside her husband’s on the legal documents will prove detrimental to her, should the authorities discover the expired drugs and reagents that the Doctor currently has within their facility — Multitech Reference Laboratory.
Hence, she would like to distance herself from any negative spinoffs that may occur.
Dr. Bassoo also operates a medical School – Toucan University— which is also situated at the same Cove and John location. Students supposedly utilise the same laboratory to carry out their studies.
The man’s wife said that she was with her son, Chris Bassoo, at the storeroom picking up supplies and noticed a stack of boxes on the western side of the bond. Upon investigating, she found that there were over a 100 cases of expired Metformin tablets and other drugs. She subsequently informed her son about what she had discovered.
Chris Bassoo immediately began taking photographs of the drugs.
He stated that since the lab can be accessed from the bond, he conducted a search of the facility and discovered vials of reagents that were years passed their expiry dates.
Also, he stated that expired reagents were stocked in the lab’s cool storage under the caption, “In Use”.
The son said that he was “shocked” to see how old the reagents were. One had the year 2003 on it, he said. A report was made to the Food and Drug Department. He was subsequently referred to the Ministry of Public Health where he spoke to Shivanand Geer, the Acting Registrar of the Pharmacy and Poisons Board who invited Chris Bassoo to “come over”.
Chris said that he was told by Geer that an inspection will be conducted the following day however — according to Chris, Geer along with another individual showed up some two days later where a ten-minute inspection was conducted.
“During the inspection I filmed everything and after it (the inspection) was completed, I asked him if it was serious and he said, ‘It was very serious,’ and he left.”
Questioning his motive, the man stated that by reporting the matter, he was carrying out his “civic duty”.
“We walked for a change; we did so much just to have a better country and it doesn’t matter if he is my father. I felt that it was my civic duty as a citizen of this country to report him – or anyone else.
“To think of all the people that could be hurt by this, we decided to act.”
When Geer was contacted, he confirmed that he had conducted an inspection and is in the process of compiling a report.
Geer stated he was “made to understand”, that the Bassoos are having a family feud and cautioned that the media be careful on what it reports, since there is an on-going court case.
Though Geer did not go into details regarding the case, this newspaper was able to confirm that Dr. Bassoo had appeared before an East Coast Demerara Magistrate some days ago regarding accusation made against him by his estranged wife.
When quizzed on if he was able to confirm that there were indeed expired drugs in the lab’s storeroom and within the facility’s refrigerators, Geer responded in the affirmative.
However, he stated that the large quantity of drugs was kept on location because he was made to understand, that the doctor was awaiting reimbursement from the company from which he bought the drugs.
While admitting that the report made by the doctor’s son had “some merit”, there is an explanation for the expired reagents stored in the facility’s cold storage.
Geer said that these reagents are used for the practical aspect of the courses being undertaken by students while adding that it is only logical that the students use these expired reagents since new chemicals are costly.
During an interview on Sunday last, Dr. Bassoo stated that the expired reagents are used to get students’ “hands wet” and stated that he does not give his students new chemicals to learn or practice with.
Asked if this was recommended by the authorities, Dr. Bassoo said that he does not know.
“We don’t use expired drugs only reagents, we don’t use these things for people who apply to do actual tests.”
The doctor said that the lab has been downsizing to make room for the institute and pointed out that tests are now being carried out at Dr. Benjamin Singh’s clinic in Industry, East Coast Demerara.
He reiterated that the lab is now strictly used for students’ practical.
Dr. Bassoo said that he is now going through the process of having the school officially accredited through the National Accreditation Council (NAC).
He said that he was previously apart of on joint venture with the Doobay Medical Centre where he and the entity operated a business on New Market Street. The doctor said that he left three years ago and started his present school and applied for registration.
Dr. Bassoo said that he was teaching students without the accreditation so that when the NAC comes to visit, they will see that something is being done.
Quizzed on the expired drugs in the bond, Dr. Bassoo provided some background information on how he acquired the drugs.
Dr. Bassoo explained that he was a representative of Pharm Canada and had brokered a deal between the company and the then government for the provision of medication including Metaformin and statins.
He later discovered that the medications were actually fakes from India. As a result, the then Minister of Health, Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, decided not to pay the company which resulted in him finding himself in a predicament since he was the “middle man” in the deal.
Asked how much money Guyana had to pay for the fake drugs, he replied that neither Guyana nor he, paid a cent – except for shipping cost.
He stated that he was sued by the company while he was in Guyana. The case was brought before Justice Rishi Persaud. His lawyer who dealt with the case was the now deceased, Vicramadictya “Vic” Puran.
He was asked if there were any other finished or ongoing court matters pertaining to Pharm Canada within the country’s jurisdiction or abroad; he replied in the negative.
The doctor told the media that he is keeping the expired pills in case the company makes any moves in the future.
However, a public document was published last year on the internet which indicated that a move had already been made by the company. His property was seized by the Sheriff of London/Middlesex County, Ontario Canada. A Writ of Seizure and Sale that was issued by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice dated November 14, 2012 — Court File No.: CV-09-0403-00.
Dr. Bassoo was stated as being the defendant, at the suit of Pharm Canada Inc. and Dil Muhammad — the plaintiffs.
The property which was located at 170 Muriel Crescent, London, Ontario, was publicly auctioned off on October 9, 2015.
Dr. Bassoo stated that he does not sell any of medication in his bond nor does he sell over the counter drugs.
Although his wife is listed as a director of the laboratory, Dr. Bassoo said he is the sole owner and representative of the lab.
The doctor said that he and his wife have been separated for six years and a divorce is now being sought after his mother passed away in May last.
After his mother’s death, his estranged wife began occupying a section of the premises he said. He went on to say that his wife owns nothing on the property and is fighting for shares.
His attorney, Anil Nandall, he said, is handling the matter.
With regards to his son, the Doctor stated that his son is a liar and a ‘con’ man whose claims should not be taken seriously.
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