In this part of our investigative series on how doctors, hospital and diagnostic centres are defrauding Nigerians patients annually through an entrenched medical referral kickback scam, we unveil the identities of the owners of the medical diagnostic laboratories involved in the scam.
A PREMIUM TIMES investigation had revealed how some Nigerian medical diagnostic companies are colluding with doctors and hospitals to scam Nigerians through a referral kickbacks scheme, making healthcare provision expensive and ineffective.
Me Cure Healthcare Limited is a family-owned business principally run by father, Samir Udani, and son, Arjun Udani. The senior Mr Udani is a chemist and food scientist with over 35 years experience in the pharmaceutical and healthcare supplies and manufacturing industry.
Mr Udani founded Me Cure in 2005 and the company has since grown to be one of the popular healthcare providers in the country. In 2009, he was awarded the Healthcare Businessman of the Year in Nigeria.
But Arjun, a Stanford University-trained project manager, runs the family business. As executive director of Me Cure, he directly manages the company’s diagnostic centres in Nigeria as well as Me Cure’s industries pharmaceutical manufacturing plants.
He is also the managing director of Healthdekho Healthcare Private Limited, the Udani family’s healthcare innovation and technology firm.
Apart from planning to build what the company has described as the largest oncology hospital in West Africa, Me Cure Industries Limited, the parent company of Me Cure Healthcare, also has a cosmetics and skincare business under the brand name PureGlow.
Arjun is a director in the following businesses, which are affiliated to Me Cure Industries Limited: YouthBerry Healthcare Private Limited, Healthdekho Healthcare Limited, Techcetra Online Solutions Private Limited, Peanut Butter Jelly Online Services Private Limited and GBTT Online Services Private Limited.
Ebere Nwosu, the managing director of Greenlife Pharmaceuticals Limited is one of the owners of Clinix Healthcare. Mr Nwosu is one of Nigeria’s most successful healthcare moguls. Mr Nwosu is a pastor at the Redeemed Church of God founded a number of philanthropic organisations including, Paincare Ministry, an evangelical organisation, which give medical care, food and other essential provisions to indigent communities in the country.
Afriglobal MedicareThe parent company of Afriglobal Medicare Limited, Nagode Industries Limited is one of the market leaders in the trading and distribution of chemical raw materials in Nigeria. Other companies affiliated to Afriglobal Medicare are Afriglobal Commodities Limited, Afriglobal Logistics Limited and Advance Medisystems Limited.
Maneesh Garg is the CEO of the group which started as a family business for more than 30 years. He is a University of Oxford and Northwestern University-trained economist. Mr Garg is a public speaker who is known for making references to his personal experience and challenges as a healthcare entrepreneur in Nigeria.
Echolab is a subsidiary of integrated Diagnostics Holding (IDH) which also has operations in Egypt, Jordan, Sudan. The company has over 452 branches in these countries. IDH paid $25 million in 2017 to acquire the majority stake in Echo-Scan, as the laboratory was formerly known.
The Chairman of IDH is a British peer named Anthony Tudor St John. St John, a hereditary member of the British House of Lords since 1999, was educated at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and The London School of Economics where he received a Master of Law degree. He is an expert in African affairs, deregulation, and information technology.
In 2012, the Independent newspaper in the UK reported that St John was among members of UK parliament who failed to declare their financial and non-financial dealings as required by law.
The newspaper found that in November 2011, he joined the “special advisory board” of Mooter Media, an Australian digital media firm but failed to declare it on the register. He also failed to declare he was an adviser to the technology marketing agency Mcdonald Butler Associates.
He argued that the positions were without salaries and said he had asked Mcdonald Butler Associate to remove his name from its website.
Hend El Sherbini, the CEO of IDH, is a professor of Clinical Pathologist at the Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt. She also has a PhD in Immunology from Cairo University and an MBA from London Business School. According to a Forbes article, she grew the IDH from a small diagnostic business founded by her mother into a $668 million enterprise.
Benedict Okpala, one of the owners of Vedic Lifecare Hospital, is a University of Lagos-trained physician. He is a former board member of the Federal Psychiatric Hospital Calabar Member, Policy Drafting National Health Insurance Scheme. He is also a fellow of the Association of General and Private Medical Practitioners of Nigeria (FAGP) and Distinguished Medical Practitioner of Nigeria (DMP).
In 2010, he was awarded the Pontificial Honours of Pope Benedict XVI for his contributions to the Catholic Church and the state.
The owner of Vcare, Sanjay Mathur, was an oil and gas professional and held several executive positions in oil and gas firms in India and Nigeria before setting up his diagnostic firm.
He was a former managing director of the lubricant division of Conoil and the regional manager of ExxonMobil in India. In 2017 he resigned as the managing director of Conoil, alongside two other executives, after the oil firm recorded abysmal half-year financial performance.
The CEO of Union Diagnostics, Olushola Akinniyi, is a consultant gynaecologist. Mr Akinniyi is a member of the renowned American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (MAIUM) and a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM). He is also the owner of Trucare Fertility Clinic, in Lagos.
Tinuola Akinbogbe is a University of Lagos and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine- trained doctor. Between 2006 and 2007, she was the head, Client Services Department of the health management organisation (HMO), Healthcare International.
She later joined another HMO, Oceanic health Management Ltd, where she worked for six years and rose to the position of Head, Risk Management of the firm.
In 2013, she was appointed the medical director of GlobeMed Group, an HMO. She became a director of Health Assur Limited, an HMO and was the chief executive office (CEO) of the company until August 2019.
In September 2019, she was named the CEO of Synlab. Ms. Akinbolagbe is also a trustee of Drug Aid Africa, a non-governmental organisation that provide medical drug supplies and support to low-income patients in Nigeria and across Africa.
IN 2017, European healthcare giant, Synlab, which has a presence in 40 countries in four continents, bought a majority stake from Pathcare laboratories and renamed it after itself. Synlab, which is owned by private equity firm Cinven, did not disclose the size and the value of the equity it bought.
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