Covid test manufacturer welcomes Good Law Project’s legal action failure

Lateral flow test maker Abingdon Health has welcomed the judgement in an unsuccessful case brought by activist legal group The Good Law Project (GLP).

The non-profit GLP had sought a judicial review of Covid-19-related contracts issued by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC).

But on Friday Mr Justice Waksman has ruled in favour of the DHSC on all grounds, including lack of state aid to Abingdon Health and dismissed all claims brought by the GLP.

Abingdon Health PLC had been an “interested party” in the case brought by the GLP, and it had a final £1.5m payment from the DHSC waiting on the resolution of the legal action. The York-based healthcare company now expects that payment to be made.

The contracts had been worth £11.8m in total, although problems with payments from Government and the impact of this legal action have made it a difficult time for the company.

Chris Yates, chief executive of Abingdon Health, said: “We are, of course, pleased with this judgement, but extremely disappointed that Abingdon’s reputation and good standing has been called into question by the GLP, and their unsubstantiated accusations were broadcast widely by them through various media outlets.

“At Abingdon Health we answered the Government’s call for leading UK life sciences companies to respond quickly with solutions to help during the height of the pandemic. We did the right thing. In the end we have been caught in a political cross-fire.

“We fully support transparency and accountability in the award of public contracts in general, and particularly during the COVID-19 period, but this case was misjudged.”

In February 2021, a High Court ruled the Government unlawfully failed to publish information on billions of pounds’ worth of coronavirus-related contracts.

The Good Law Project launched a legal action against the DHSC for its “wholesale failure” to release details of contracts agreed during the pandemic.

Abingdon’s contract with the Government saw it produce and supply one million Covid-19 antibody tests between July 2020 and January 2021.

The business was forced to take its own legal action against the Government after it was not paid for the tests, but in July it received a £6.3m cash payment from the DHSC as part of a settlement agreement.