B.and minister of health Jens Spahn (CDU) is under criticism after a media report on questionable processes surrounding the mass procurement of inferior corona protective masks in the past year. Both the coalition partner SPD and the opposition accuse the minister of serious misconduct. The SPD co-chairman Norbert Walter-Borjans called on the CDU chairman Armin Laschet in the newspaper Bild am Sonntag to release Spahn from his post. The Greens and the FDP called for immediate clarification. The Ministry of Health defended Spahn’s actions on Saturday.
The background is a report by Der Spiegel magazine from Friday. So that had Federal Ministry of Health Bought unusable masks in the spring of 2020 for an estimated billion euros. These were – even under the special EU rules applicable at the time – were not freely marketable and therefore had to be checked in the laboratory before they were used. The Ministry of Health has now planned to distribute such masks to the homeless, the disabled or Hartz IV recipients, the magazine reported. The Ministry of Labor, which is responsible for mask security, under the leadership of the SPD, refused to give its consent.
Now the masks should be stored in the National Reserve Health Protection and only given out in the event of a disaster. The masks should be destroyed when the expiry date is reached.
“Unworthy and inhuman”
“It is unworthy and inhuman when a health minister divides people into two classes, namely those who are entitled to quality-tested masks and those for which absolutely unsuitable masks are good enough not to protect their lives,” Walter-Borjans told the picture On Sunday. “If that occurred to a minister of the SPD, we would know what to do.” He demanded Lash to reconsider whether this “scandalous approach by Jens Spahn is still acceptable for a party with a Christian label”.
The SPD co-chair, Saskia Esken, accused Spahn of “unprecedented contempt” for parts of society in the Tagesspiegel and indirectly called for that resignation of the Minister: “With this inhumane attitude you have no business in politics.”
The Left Chair Janine Wissler called the behavior of the Ministry of Health in the mirror “inhuman and abysmal”. A minister who is ready to consciously endanger these vulnerable groups “is not acceptable”.
Also FDP parliamentary group vice Michael Theurer expressed sharp criticism. “Now at the latest a special investigator from the Federal Audit Office has to take care of a complete and relentless investigation,” he told the Handelsblatt. “That is deeply indecent, and an apology from the Federal Minister of Health is the very least, should this monstrous misstep by Mr. Spahn actually come true.”
The President of the Social Association VdK, Verena Bentele said the mirror, the process testifies to “an unacceptable image of man”. The fact that the masks in the national emergency reserve are now “to wait for their expiry date to be quietly and secretly disposed of does not make matters any better”.
Ministry: strict attention to quality
The ministry tried on Saturday to dispel the allegations and accused the SPD of a “pre-arranged game”. For reasons of the election campaign, the SPD once again attacked Minister Spahn with fluffy stories. When masks were distributed free of charge to facilities for the homeless and integration assistance, “the best possible protection of the citizens and employees living there was always in the foreground,” emphasized the Ministry.
When procuring medical material “in the emergency at the time”, “strict attention was paid to quality”. Insofar as the “deficiency” was found in the test procedure, the Ministry did not accept the goods and did not pay for them.
For Hartz IV recipients, masks were distributed via the pharmacies. “These were procured from the pharmacies, stocks of the federal government were not used for this purpose, and this was not planned.”
Regarding the allegedly planned destruction of the masks, the department stated that the federal government had not made any decisions about the destruction of inventory. “In this respect, the corresponding reporting does not apply, and we do not know the basis of this reporting.”