Dutch consumer and medical electronics giant Royal Philips has been caught up in US politics over production of ventilators to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.
A report from the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy released on Friday was looking at possible overcharging for ventilators at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The chair of the subcommittee is calling for Philips to repay $500m as a result.
Philips was asked for information about contracts for the delivery of 10,000 Trilogy Universal ventilators and 43,000 EV300 ventilators to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“We have been transparent about our production ramp up plans, pricing and allocation policies. We have cooperated and delivered the requested information to the subcommittee,” said Frans van Houten, CEO of Royal Philips. “We do not recognize the conclusions in the subcommittee’s report, and we believe that not all the information that we provided has been reflected in the report,” he said. “I would like to make clear that at no occasion, Philips has raised prices to benefit from the crisis situation.”
eeNews Europe has been tracking the shipments of ventilators from the major manufacturers including Philips, Getinge, Medtronic, Hamilton Medical and Breas Medical as well as the UK's Ventilator Challenge (see below).
The democratic chair of the subcommittee, Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, accused the Trump administration of poor negotiation of the deal.
“The American people got ripped off, and Donald Trump and his team got taken to the cleaners,” he said. “The Trump Administration’s mishandling of ventilator procurement for the nation’s stockpile cost the American people dearly during the worst public health crisis of our generation. The Trump Administration’s efforts constitute over half-a-billion dollars of waste, fraud, or abuse. The Subcommittee calls on Philips to return the excess money so that it may aid the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Krishnamoorthi.