CervicalCheck laboratory MedLab sees profits fall but revenue rise

Figures cover year when Vicky Phelan case in spotlight and screening programme issues

Medlab Pathology is appealing the €2.1m award to terminally-ill Limerick woman Ruth Morrissey to the Supreme Court, alongside Quest Laboratories and the HSE. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Medlab Pathology is appealing the €2.1m award to terminally-ill Limerick woman Ruth Morrissey to the Supreme Court, alongside Quest Laboratories and the HSE. Photograph: Dave Meehan

 

A lab firm being sued in the High Court by several women concerning alleged failings in the HSE’s CervicalCheck programme last year increased its revenues here by 12 per cent to €9.238 million.

Sandyford-based MedLab Pathology Ltd has been named as a co-defendant in High Court actions concerning CervicalCheck but, in new accounts, the company’s directors state that ongoing legal cases do not affect its ability to continue as a going concern due to insurance cover it retains.

Sounding an upbeat note on the company’s prospects here, the directors state that “the considerable growth seen within the financial year ended June 30th 2018 is forecast to continue . . . This is due to an increase in patient numbers within newly awarded and established contracts for an increasing range of laboratory services.”

In May this year Ms Justice Kevin Cross ordered in the High Court that MedLab Pathology Ltd and Quest Diagnostics be held liable for the bulk of €2.1 million award to terminally ill woman Ruth Morrissey.

Ms Morrissey won her case against the HSE and the two lab firms in relation to the testing of her cervical smear slides in 2009 and 2012 in the landmark action relating to the CervicalCheck controversy.

The two companies along with the HSE have appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court. Its ruling will have implications for the CervicalCheck tribunal and dozens of cases by women with cervical cancer.

Whatever the outcome of the appeal, the State has assured the Morrisseys that they will retain the award of €2.1 million damages made to them.

In the new accounts lodged by MedLab Pathology Ltd, the directors state that “there are ongoing legal cases involving the company and that these remain ongoing as at the date of signing the financial statements”.

“MedLab Pathology Ltd has insurance to cover these types of cases . . . Therefore these cases do not impact the ability of the entity to continue as a going concern.”

The controversy surrounding CervicalCheck erupted in April 2018 following Vicky Phelan’s €2.5 million High Court settlement with Clinical Pathology Laboratories, a sister lab of MedLab.

However, even as the CervicalCheck programme and the actions of the labs concerned came under the spotlight, MedLab Pathology was increasing its revenues by just under €1 million, or 12 per cent, to €9.238 million in the 12 months to end-June 2018.

Higher costs contributed to pre-tax profits falling by 69 per cent to €113,041.

Medlab Pathology is owned by Australian-based Sonic Healthcare Ltd which last year enjoyed global revenues of 5.5 billion Australian dollars (€3.4 billion).