The State paid approximately €915 million for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) last year according to new figures obtained by People Before Profit TD Gino Kenny.
As reported by the Irish Examiner, the State was also found to have paid €30.5 million for 1,026 ventilator units, amounting to €29,806 per unit.
For the PPE, three companies received between €226 million-€102 million, while 11 more companies earned between €50 million-€10 million.
The Hong-Kong based China Resources Pharmaceutical reportedly received €225 million for PPE in 2020, with the second largest amount going to Clare-based EKO Integrates Services Limited which received €115.5 million. The third highest amount (€102 million) went to Dobu Mask Incorporated in South Korea.
The HSE said all purchases are subject to the health services' standard terms and conditions, with all products reviewed against quality standards set out by the World Health Organisation (WHO), adding that where quality issues arose, the HSE engaged with the company to agree on a solution, such as a refund.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr Kenny called the figures "astronomical".
He added: "It would be interesting to see how much of the PPE that was purchased last year was deemed unusable for its medical-setting purpose."
Mr Kenny also said that given supply and labour standard issues around the world it would be practical to produce PPE in Ireland.