The HSE says 20 per cent of personal protective equipment that's arrived in Ireland so far is not suitable for general healthcare use.
Millions of euro worth of PPE has already been flown here from China for use by medical staff.
But the HSE says a fifth of it - mainly masks - doesn't meet their requirements.
It insists some of the equipment could be used for other purposes, such as in isolation facilities.
CEO Paul Reid says they've tried to make sure this doesn't happen again.
We have been in discussion with the supplier. We don't want any further delivery of this kit in the next orders.
"We want the required specification that we've set out and we have had discussions with them this week and we have asked for some samples with the revised specification sent to us," he added.