Insolvency for stem cell clinic

 

A few years ago, Bahamas passed legislation to ease the way for offering unproven stem cell interventions for a range of conditions including vascular disease, cancer, kidney disease, and others. While some stem cell treatments have received regulatory approval, others have not been demonstrated as safe and effective in clinical trials, let alone been approved for human use by any major Western regulator. The Bahamas has difficulty competing with other Caribbean countries on costs for medical services, so the opportunity to offer HIFU and stem cell injections gave the Bahamas a chance to compete for international patients.

A Freeport based stem cell provider, had US$13 million in debts and other liabilities, but only US$335,218 in cash, and was placed into Supreme Court supervised liquidation.

The full extent of the Okyanos Centre for Regenerative Medicine's financial problem was revealed in Justice Indra Charles' rationale for granting the winding-up of a company that was seen as a key player in the Bahamas efforts to kick-start medical tourism.

The liquidator for Okyanos showed US$5.667m worth of assets (including above cash sum) to cover US$13.22m in liabilities, creating a US$7.553m solvency deficiency. The court considered provisional liquidation to give it a chance to recover. But L. S. Enterprises, the company behind the winding-up petition, had common directors and both boards voted for liquidation. Justice Charles accepted that Oksana’s was insolvent and had ceased trading.

The stem cell therapy provider's troubles began with Hurricane Dorian that caused US$2 million worth of damage at its offices. In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, the company’s premises, operating facilities and equipment were neither functioning nor functional. The company attempted to mitigate loss and damage by moving equipment and supplies to a climate controlled storage and preparing the company’s operating facilities for mould remediation but that was allegedly hampered by the landlord, whose servants and/or agents instructed the company’s personnel to cease and desist from such activities. Following Hurricane Dorian’s devastation, the company’s business ceased, and never resumed as insurance was not adequate.

As the Bahamas moves into the next recovery stage from COVID-19, tourists no longer need to be in a 14-day quarantine. Hotels are open, but there are still many restrictions.

All visitors must provide:

  • Proof of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken no more than five days prior to arrival.
  • Mandatory 14-day Vacation-In-Place Experience at a hotel, private club or rented accommodation. This allows use of hotel spas and gyms by hotel guests.

From November, tours, excursions and attractions can re-open but there is no date set for reopening restaurants, casinos, cruises and remaining attractions.

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