Maryland was forced to shell out millions of dollars to replace coronavirus tests procured from South Korea after the first batch was deemed unusable, state officials conceded.
Dennis Schrader, the state’s acting health secretary, said during a Maryland Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday that the Hogan administration returned the defective tests and proceeded to pay millions to replace them.
“We were under pressure and we were negotiating with the manufacturer,” Schrader said, WTOP reported. “The manufacturer was not willing to just replace the tests.”
The 500,000 tests, which reportedly cost $9.5 million, were obtained in April with the help of the wife of Gov. Larry Hogan from her native South Korea.
Hogan at the time touted the transaction as “game-changing” but had to walk back his assessment last month when reports of the malfunctioning tests surfaced.
Replacing the faulty first shipment cost the state $2.5 million but Schrader said it was necessary.
“Because of the crisis we were in, there was a sense at that time that the $2.5 million would be valuable to get the tests here,” he said, WTOP reported.