GeneStore denies SpiceHealth’s claims, says Spice tried to restrict RT-PCR price correction

Responding to charges levelled by SpiceHealth of alleged breach of agreement, GeneStore has said that the recent allegations are motivated and iniquitous attempts to suppress price correction in Covid-19 RT-PCR testing in India.

In a statement, GeneStore also said that it has issued requisite statutory notices under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, and is in the process of initiating appropriate proceedings under the said legislation. It has also issued a legal notice to SpiceHealth seeking recovery of outstanding dues.

“The baseless allegations came after PathStore, GeneStore’s pathology services brand, announced its revolutionary Covid-19 RT-PCR test pricing strategy through its campaign ‘Ab ki Baar RT-PCR’, offering the testing service at RS 299 in India last week,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Founder and CEO of GeneStore Global and PathStore, Anubhav Anusha, said that in September 2020, GeneStore aimed to rollout a Make in India initiative of developing and manufacturing mobile RT-PCR testing laboratories for low-cost RT-PCR testing at Rs 499 to support scaling-up of the testing infrastructure in India.

As per the principal terms of the strategic agreement, GeneStore would invest its intellectual property and funds to manufacture proprietary Covid-19 RT-PCR mobile laboratories and build a testing service ecosystem, alongside procuring the necessary NABL and ICMR approvals, while SpiceHealth would be responsible for undertaking activities as a distributor, he said.

“In the limited period of the partnership, GeneStore fulfilled its commitment, only to realise gross professional, ethical, and legal misconduct and malpractice on the side of SpiceHealth,” Anusha said.

In November 2020, SpiceHealth had procured a tender by ICMR, wherein GeneStore was enlisted as the technical partner for the deployment of its mobile RT-PCR laboratory services network at a price point of Rs 499 per test.

However, GeneStore alleged that the “ulterior motives” on the part of SpiceHealth began to reveal when upon the launch of the joint venture in November 2020, SpiceJet and SpiceHealth started a campaign of fraudulent claims which stated that Avani Singh was the inventor behind the cutting-edge mobile RT-PCR laboratories that were actually developed by Anubhav Anusha, Founder of GeneStore.

“No one from SpiceHealth or SpiceJet, including Ms Avani Singh, has any ground or right for having claimed the credit for my invention, concept and hard work. It was a nightmare for the GeneStore family and me, who became the victims in this case of being discredited for our path-breaking ideas, work and strategies,” Anusha added.

The company further claimed that between December and January 2021, SpiceHealth employees sought to steal GeneStore’s IP and constructed its fixed RT-PCR laboratory in Gurugram.

SpiceHealth employees then started to route away samples coming to GeneStore’s mobile RT-PCR laboratories from the Delhi government to SpiceHealth’s central laboratory in Gurugram, it said.

Anusha said: “In May 2021, SpiceHealth dishonored two cheques amounting to approximately Rs 6 crore for services rendered and further defaulted on its payments for RT-PCR testing kits that were already supplied by GeneStore. Accordingly, GeneStore has already filed a complaint with the Economics Offices Wing of Delhi Police against SpiceHealth and its directors, Avanee Singh and Veena Aggarwal.”

Refuting the claims made by Anusha, SpiceHealth said in a statement on Wednesday that it carried out its obligation and has already made payments of Rs 9.37 crore as per the terms of the agreement, and it was GeneStore and Anubhav Anusha and affiliates who actually breached the terms of the agreement.

“Anubhav’s and GeneStore’s flagrant breach of its non-compete and non-solicitation obligations with the criminal intent fundamentally alters the bargain between the parties. Hence SpiceHealth is under no obligation to pay anything to GeneStore and instead has a claim against them,” it said.

Last week, SpiceHealth had approached the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Delhi Health Minister against GeneStore India and its promoter Anubhav Anusha for allegedly violating the non-compete and non-solicitation agreement between the two companies.