HHS underwrites development of low cost portable ventilators
Under the agreement, Philips Healthcare will develop a next-generation ventilator that could be stockpiled by the federal government
WASHINGTON | September 19, 2014
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will sponsor the advanced development of a next-generation portable ventilator to help fill the need for portable, low-cost, user-friendly and flexible ventilators in a pandemic or other public health emergency.
The new ventilator will be developed under a three year, $13.8 million contract with Philips Respironics of Murrysville, Pennsylvania. The project will be overseen by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) within the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.
According to HHS, the innovative ventilator in development will leverage advanced technology to reduce the size and cost and will be designed in a way that doctors, nurses and other health professionals can operate without special training. The next-generation ventilator also will be designed to be manufactured quickly to meet a surge in the number of patients who need ventilators if more ventilators are needed than could be stockpiled.
In a severe influenza pandemic and potentially in other public health emergencies, a large number of severely ill patients would require mechanical ventilation. This number could overwhelm the capacity of the healthcare system to provide such care, both in the number of ventilators available and staff trained to operate them. Under the HHS contract, the ventilator will be required to meet the needs of everyone from infants to the elderly.
To make the new ventilator suitable for stockpiling, HHS requires the portable equipment must be low-cost. Ventilators with all the required features currently cost from $6,000 to $30,000 per unit. Under the agreement, Philips Healthcare will develop a next-generation ventilator that could be stockpiled by the federal government. The contract includes an option to purchase 10,000 completely kitted, initial production ventilators for $32.8 million.
In addition to aiding in response to a public health emergency, the next-generation ventilator in development might have important implications for routine care. The modernized features, agility, and ease of use could improve patient care for triage in the field or advanced treatment in the hospital.