The Government suppressed an official report that proved there were issues with rapid antibody tests purchased by the Department of Health. Leaked emails reveal the Government blocked Public Health England from publishing their findings until after they could make an announcement that they had purchased one million antibody tests from Abingdon Health.
How did we end up with a Government minister claiming publicly that he is “thrilled by the RTC product, both for Britain and export markets around the world”, whilst at the same time sitting on a damning expert report? The purchase of one million antibody tests from Abingdon Health has been shrouded in mystery, but what we do know lays bare serious failings in Government procurement.
The Government supported the creation of the UK Rapid Test Consortium (UK-RTC) back in April. The idea was that the companies and institutions involved, including Abingdon Health, would create a rapid antibody test. On 2nd June, Government awarded a contract worth £10million to Abingdon Health for the materials needed to produce the test. On 14th August, they handed Abingdon Health another contract worth a staggering £75 million.
Despite these huge sums of money, Government seems to have ignored widely held concerns that these tests were not fit for purpose. So a £75 million contract was awarded without competition, on the basis of profoundly flawed research. And when confronted with evidence of these flaws Government tried to suppress publication of that evidence.
These are serious charges and we have set out the publicly available evidence in this chronology, which we will update as more evidence is published.
We are left asking why didn’t the Government conduct a more thorough evaluation of the accuracy of the rapid antibody tests? Why were these contracts awarded seemingly without any advertisement or competition between bidders?
We don’t know, but to protect public money and to seek to encourage Government towards honesty, we have issued judicial review proceedings in respect of the Abingdon Health contract awards. If you are in a position to support the legal challenge, you can do so here.
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