PPE Medpro is defending itself against the UK government’s lawsuit for breach of contract
PPE Medpro, a supplier of medical supplies, has paved the way for a high-profile case after winning a robust defense in the High Court against a UK government claim relating to alleged breach of contract to supply £122million in personal protective equipment had submitted equipment.
The UK government last year launched legal proceedings against PPE Medpro over an alleged breach of contract in relation to gowns supplied under a 26 June 2020 contract. 19 pandemic.
The Department of Health and Human Services lawsuit, filed in December, alleged that PPE supplied Medpro 72 batches of gowns with a CE mark, which certifies that a product has been assessed by an accredited body and is a legal requirement for products these must be sterile. However, the lawsuit alleges that PPE Medpro did not provide a number indicating which body performed the accreditation.
It also stated that the dresses were single, not double-bagged, in breach of requirements, and that they “could not be used for any purpose within the NHS”.
On Thursday, PPE Medpro filed its defense and counterclaim in the High Court in London, stating that the gowns supplied were “conforming to the contract” and that there was no clear requirement that they had to be double-bagged.
“The defendant performed and executed the contract as required. All allegations of injury are false and are dismissed in any event,” claims PPE Medpro’s defense in the High Court.
“The gowns in question conformed to the contract in all respects, in particular they were sterilized and compliant,” it said. “It is disputed that the gowns in question were not sterile upon delivery.”
According to the UK government’s lawsuit, PPE provided Medpro with a safety report from an accreditation body called Intertek, which the company denied was issued.
PPE Medpro’s counterclaim acknowledged that it had sent a draft document incorrectly, but claimed that it later sent a valid, certified report from Intertek. It also noted that the government’s complaint does not allege “that any of the documents submitted by or on behalf of the defendant relating to the contract were anything but authentic”.
PPE Medpro also alleges in its defense papers that there has been a “relaxation of CE certification/accreditation rules that would have ‘normally’ – absent the catastrophe of the Covid-19 pandemic – applied”.
The government is seeking a refund of £122m for the dresses and £11.6m for costs incurred in connection with the case.
PPE Medpro has been embroiled in an ongoing scandal after it was reported that lingerie entrepreneur and Tory party colleague Baroness Michelle Mone used her personal email addresses to prompt ministers to secure lucrative government contracts for the company linked to her husband.
Late last year The Guardian and the Financial Times reported on bank documents showing how at least £65m of company profits were channeled into accounts benefiting Mone or her husband Douglas Barrowman. Both Mone and Barrowman have previously denied any involvement in PPE Medpro.
The UK government has been heavily criticized for accepting more than £13bn worth of orders during the pandemic.
Last year, in a separate legal case, the High Court found that the UK government had acted unlawfully by operating a special VIP lane for potential suppliers of personal protective equipment who had ties to politicians or government officials.
PPE Medpro said in a statement: “The DHSC’s complaints were fabricated after the event and are hollow. We have provided all sterility certifications upon delivery of the gown lots, showing a validated process to achieve the required level of sterility.”
It added: “We stand behind the quality of our dresses and our solutions. We are confident that our legal defense will show that DHSC’s claims are unfounded.”
DHSC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
https://www.ft.com/content/fbe4eb9d-4d2a-496d-935f-e92b2bf1f3e9 PPE Medpro is defending itself against the UK government’s lawsuit for breach of contract