Posted BY: Billy M | NwoReport
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, when America’s frontline medical workers were desperate to get a hold of crucial medical gear, a Texas-based mobile health company paid roughly $500,000 for 100,000 antibody test kits from China—the only place at the time that was selling these much-needed products.
But the kits, which would have been used to fill orders from the U.S. military and their state customers, never went further than the company’s warehouse where the products were delivered before July 2020, following months of delays after a product test by the importer said it found a concerning number of the tests to be defective.
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The company, AnyPlace MD, is now suing the China-based seller in the hopes of covering their losses.
The contract they entered into in May 2020 required Stevens to make a 75 percent down payment totaling $481,125 to Anhui DeepBlue Medical Technology, the Chinese test kit supplier, with the remaining $118,875 due in a month. After receiving the tests, Stevens said he quickly discovered, upon running a sample check of the products, that a significant number of the kits produced false-positive results or “ghost lines”—lines that are hard to interpret and “appear to indicate a positive test.”
In an early July 2020, email exchange with a joint venture partner, Reliant Immune Diagnostics, a second plaintiff in the lawsuit, the latter highlighted a screenshot taken from the FDA’s website showing DeepBlue, along with four other China-based COVID-19 test manufacturers, flagged by the U.S. regulator as “should not be distributed.”
AnyPlace was apparently not the only one that has made complaints about the China-based supplier. In Laredo City, investigators from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security seized 20,000 DeepBlue test kits, after health department officials determined that the tests carried only a 20 percent accuracy rate, according to local media reports from April 2020.
Around that time, defective medical supplies from China, such as masks and testing kits, were already drawing backlash from countries such as Finland, Britain, and Ireland, leading to the recalls of millions of items. In August 2020, Sweden announced that 3,700 locals were erroneously told they had the virus due to defective testing kits made in China.
Stevens contacted Rallo Holdings, the company that brokered the deal with DeepBlue, asking for a refund. He would spend the next few months trying to get the nearly $500,000 back.
When he finally got connected with Li Zeyu, a DeepBlue representative, in September 2020, Li apologized for the delays in refunds, saying that the company was working on securing sales for the products in Mexico or other South American countries so that there “will be not lost or just a small lost [sic].”
“Why are you guys trying to sell these tests to anyone else?” Stevens replied, according to message history shared with The Epoch Times. “They are not good. Ghost [lines], false positives … They are not good tests.”
Li replied, arguing that AnyPlace’s allegations about the lab results “were not correct,” and said that the company had only agreed to the refund due to the FDA delisting.
“[B]y the way. deep blue sold about 10 million test kits total. we got a bad results and refund less than 50k total…. So we don’t think there is a big problem in our products,” Li told Stevens on the Chinese messaging platform WeChat.
The Epoch Times has contacted Anhui DeepBlue Medical Technology for comment on the lawsuit but did not receive a reply by press time.
The FDA, while not providing specific comments on the imported products from Anhui DeepBlue Medical Technology, told The Epoch Times in an email that it “intends to remove tests for which FDA has either issued a EUA or has notified the test developer by email that FDA declines to review, declines to issue, or otherwise decides not to authorize the test for any reason.”
In an April 2020 notice, the agency had warned that some test developers at the time were “falsely claiming that their serological tests are FDA approved or authorized, or falsely claiming that they can diagnose COVID-19.”
“The FDA will take appropriate action against firms making false claims or marketing tests that are not accurate and reliable,” it said.
According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs said that they mistakenly believed that an FDA certificate document shared by the defendants, which was issued to mark an antibody test registration with the FDA, would ultimately lead to the product receiving FDA approval.
The upfront payment that AnyPlace made represented 50 percent of the company’s cash reserves.
“It hurt us badly,” Stevens said. “We had to stop buying COVID tests in the volumes that we were doing for quite some time while we recovered and recouped.”
The lawsuit was his “last resort,” he said, and he remains “very hopeful” for its success.
“If you ask other folks who have tried to deal with companies in China, they might say that it’s a low probability. But a lot of times, I just have to do what I think is right. And in the back of my head, I’m thinking, what if some other company doesn’t have the resources? What if some other companies put everything on the line to try and buy something from them? That would have bankrupted that company,” he said.
“It’s dangerous having companies out there that are like this … So I feel it’s an obligation for me to do it, regardless of the outcome.”
Eva Fu is a New York-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on U.S.-China relations, religious freedom, and human rights. Contact Eva at email@example.com