The Health Bureau (SSM) has suspended the medical services and sealed the premises of the Taivexmalo Day Hospital at the Venetian in Cotai for a string of illegalities, according to a SSM statement on Friday.
The clinic, widely known as Malo, was found to have engaged in a raft of illegal medical services in the areas of oncology and assisted reproductive technology (ART), as well as the smuggling and trafficking in anti-cancer medicines for oncology treatment from mainland China.
According to the statement, the clinic is situated on the 5th floor of The Grand Canal Shoppes of the Venetian Macao Resort Hotel Cotai.
The statement said that the bureau took action after receiving several complaints between June and October last year and in June this year.
The statement said that the clinic provided ART and oncology treatment services without the bureau’s proper authorisation.
The statement noted that the clinic has been fined 76,000 patacas, while four physicians and a nurse were fined a total of 103,000 patacas.
The licence of one of the clinic’s doctors was suspended for 90 days, the statement said, adding that “there was no victim resulting from this [illegal] situation.” However, the statement also said that due to possible criminal charges, the bureau decided to pass the case to the Public Prosecution Office (MP) for follow-up action.
The statement also said that inspections of the clinic’s various facilities and procedures such as concerning laboratory analyses, infection control measures and clinical procedures revealed that the officially required hygiene and safety conditions for providing health care services were not met.
Consequently, the statement said, the bureau decided to suspend the clinic’s operating licence and suspend its operations for 180 days, starting on Thursday last week until May 21 next year.
The statement pointed out that the clinic can require the lifting of the suspension after remedying the situation approved by the bureau. Otherwise, the clinic’s licence could be cancelled for good.
According to the Macay Post Daily, Health Bureau Director Lei Chin Ion told reporters on the sidelines of an anti-smoking campaign event on Saturday that the clinic had been urged by the bureau already last year to improve its medical services, following a raft of complaints.
Lei said that in spite of several warnings, the clinic had failed to improve its medical services.
The city’s health chief stressed that the clinic’s illegal ART and oncology services had only recently been detected by SSM inspectors.
Lei added that the government planned to launch a public consultation next month on a bill that proposes the legalisation of ART services to be provided by local hospitals.
Lei made the remarks while promoting the city’s new anti-tobacco rules that take effect on January 1.
Meanwhile, according to the Portuguese-language radio channel of government-owned broadcaster TDM, the Lisbon-based Malo Clinic said in a statement said it would launch an inquiry into the alleged irregularities at the clinic in Macau.
Radio Macau said on Saturday that the statement from Portugal pointed out that it was merely involved in dental care at the local clinic while the other medical services were the responsibility of other entities.
According to the local clinic’s English-language section on the Venetian website, it “offers a unique approach to complete wellness through a comprehensive array of world-class services.”
The website lists as the clinics’ specialties dentistry, dermatology, gastroenterology, gynaecology, imagiology, otolaryngology, and paediatrics.
Angolan Portuguese dentist Paulo Maló founded Malo Clinic in Portugal in 1995.
The clinic in Macau is reportedly majority-owned by Taiwan and local business interests.