Stockpile of US-manufactured ventilators sold overseas: report

A Pennsylvania company that received $13.8 million in tax dollars to produce cheap, portable ventilators is now selling them overseas as the U.S. scrambles to find enough of the devices to sustain hospital patients affected by the coronavirus, according to an investigation by ProPublica.  

In 2015 the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) contracted the company to produce the ventilators, which were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in September 2019. Not a single version of the model, Trilogy Evo Universal, in the U.S. stockpile.

HHS ordered 10,000 of the ventilators for the Strategic National Stockpile at a cost of $3,280 each. Instead, the company, which is a subsidiary of Dutch appliance and technology giant Royal Philips N.V., began selling more expensive versions of the ventilators across the world.

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HHS told ProPublica that the company agreed to produce them “as soon as possible,” but a Philips spokesman said the company has no plan to even begin production anytime this year.

Instead, the company is reportedly negotiating with a White House team led by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerAbraham Accords: New hope for peace in Middle East Tenants in Kushner building file lawsuit alleging dangerous living conditions Trump hosts Israel, UAE, Bahrain for historic signing MORE, to build 43,000 more ventilators for Americans infected with COVID-19.

The lack of ventilators in the U.S. hospital system has emerged as one of the biggest obstacles the administration faces as the pandemic makes its way across the country.

On Monday, Ford announced that it will be able to start producing ventilators by the end of April as governors make clear they desperately need the life-saving machines amid the coronavirus pandemic. The automobile giant said it would be able to produce 1,500 ventilators by the end of next month, 12,000 by the end of May and 50,000 by July 4.