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US gov’t paid $13.8 M for a ventilator that would cost $3K each, but five years later, after FDA approval, there are none to be had: Pro Publica

2020-03-30

(image courtesy of pixabay.com and TheDigitalArtist)

Royal Philips NV had a $13.8 M contract with the US government to produce simple, basic ventilators that was signed five years ago (in 2014?).  In September 2019, with FDA approval in hand, the federal government ordered 10,000 ventilators for $3,280 each (totalling over 30 million dollars, which wasn’t actually paid out, I don’t believe).  None of these ventilators have been delivered and none are going to be produced for the US under the contract for another year, according to Pro Publica.  Now a retailer is selling this same ventilator for over $17,000 online.  It is known as the Trilogy Evo Universal.

For those who don’t know, Royal Philips NV is a Dutch company that produces many electronic consumer items (such as CD and DVD players, on which “Philips” appears prominently).  The company which signed the contract is a subsidiary of Philips based in Pennsylvania.  In 2016, Philips paid a $34 M plus fine to the US after the Justice Department sued under the False Claims Act and the Anti-Kickback Statute (Justice claimed that the company was essentially paying kickbacks to retailers on its CPAP facemasks).  The company also signed a Corporate Integrity Agreement that is still in effect nearly five years later.

The ventilator problem is highly complex and once you read all the details, you may think, “Well, with the best of intentions, a lot of people dropped the ball”.  But, as with another company that signed a similar contract of a similar size some eight years ago and then was bought out by another company that was bought out by Medtronics, capitalism plays a large part in “dropping the ball”.

Pro Publica is a news organization that investigates and publicizes problems in government… headlines are dramatic, but the story never mentions the word “capitalism” to explain the failures involved here.  Why not?  They’re afraid of being shut down and/or disappearing if they get too radical.  Just my personal, radical opinion.  Bye for now… if I disappear, it’s because I got sick.  No-one but renxkyoko reads this stuff.

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