A company that sold lateral flow Covid tests to the government tripled staff pay last year after signing large supply contracts.
Tanner Pharma UK paid 20 employees a combined £ 4.9 million in 2020 – an average of £ 245,600 each – as profits skyrocketed during the Covid crisis.
The company, which provides China-made Orient Gene Lateral Flow Tests for the NHS Test & Trace home kits, earned £ 38.8 million in 2020 compared to £ 1.4 million in 2019.
Bosses landed over £ 200 million in deals last year and generated even higher sales for the company, which is the UK arm of the US-based Tanner Pharma Group, in 2021.
Labor shadow health minister Alex Norris MP said: “These staggering numbers will make taxpayers wonder if the government has secured the best deal on test kits.
“At first glance, it looks like their wasteful, chaotic approach to awarding Covid contracts continues.”
Home test kit contracts were controversial as billions were spent on the smears while scientists argued about their usefulness.
But a study led by University College London last night claimed they are better than expected and likely detect over 80 percent of people who are at risk of spreading the virus.
Scientists said the tests may do poorly because people are tested at the wrong stage of their infection when virus levels are low.
Professor Michael Mina, an expert at Harvard University, said, “There are a range of infectious virus levels and we show that lateral flow tests are likely to detect 90 to 95 percent of the time when people are most contagious. ”
Tanner Pharma UK has been asked to comment.