Ventilator makers detail shipments to meet Covid-19 outbreak

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Medtronic, headquartered in Dublin, predicts a five-fold increase in ventilator production by the end of June after doubling its production in Galway, Ireland in March.

Across its four ventilator products, Medtronic currently ships 300 systems per week. The company plans to produce 400 PB980 and PB560 ventilators a week this month, rising to 700 a week by the end of May and 1,000 a week by the end of June.

This represents a five-fold increase in ventilator production over pre-pandemic levels, says the company, and will lead to over 25,000 ventilator shipments across all platforms over the next six months.

Philips Healthcare says it will ship 43,000 ventilators by the end of the year. This will continue to put pressure on the supply chain for medical components through the rest of the year.

Medtronic released all the design, manufacturing and software files for its PB560 portable ventilator at the end of March. This has now received emergency approval from the FDA for use in the US in May. It is already sold in 35 countries with an average selling price of $10,000.

There have been more than 90,000 registrations for the design specifications, from large scale contract manufacturers to innovative engineers and work groups.

These include Baylis Medical in Ontario, Canada, Foxconn Technology and Vingroup in Hanoi, Vietnam. These manufacturers are working to increase ventilator production across the globe. Foxconn, which makes Apple equipment at a plant in Wisconsin, said it will be making the ventilator in the US.

Philips Healthcare plans to double ventilator production in the US by next month and quadruple deliveries by Q3. The company says it will invest ‘several tens of millions’ in its ventilator manufacturing sites in the US.

Next: Sharing ventilator production globally

“We believe in fair allocation of scarce medical equipment to those who need it the most, and we are ramping up to deliver 43,000 units to the most critical regions in the U.S. in the coming weeks and months through December 2020,” said Frans van Houten, CEO of Royal Philips.

Philips says the US government has agreed to accelerate access to critical materials and components, expedite logistics and regulatory approvals in order to rapidly increase the production of ventilators. 

In the last three months, Philips shipped ‘several thousand’ ventilators to US hospitals. However, it says critical medical equipment, such as hospital ventilators, should be made available across the world using a fair and ethical approach to allocate supply to acute patient demands. It says it may divide orders into batches to be delivered in phases, so that the company can simultaneously serve multiple countries/regions in need.

Medtronic has also worked with Intel to test a remote operation option for its Puritan Bennett 980 (PB980) ventilator with two hospitals in the US. This enables doctors to adjust the ventilator settings outside of the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) to reduce exposure to patients recovering from the Covid-19 virus.

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