Medical devicemakers plead for computer chips in global shortage: 6 things to know

Medical devicemakers are highlighting that their products are life-saving in a global chip shortage where competition is steep, according to an Oct. 3 report by The Wall Street Journal.

Six things to know:

  1. Some hospitals are experiencing monthslong delays for CT scanners, telemetry monitors, defibrillators and more as lead times for chips increased from three months to 15 months, the Journal reported.

  2. Mike Arena, vice president of operations for Fujifilm SonoSite, which makes portable ultrasound machines, told the Journal when his company goes to chipmaker executives, they want to help. "Nobody wants to be the person who shuts down critical medical devices in the middle of COVID," he said.

  3. Mr. Arena told the Journal that medical devicemakers are competing for parts against companies that generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. Fujifilm recently paid a broker $65 for a part that usually costs $1.49, because chips are in short supply.

  4. "What I’m asking them is to take some components from your higher-revenue customers and give some to me so you can do something good for the world,"  Mr. Arena told the Journal.

  5. Boston Scientific is also leveraging its product importance for patients when competing for chip allocation. By doing so, the medical device manufacturer has kept up with demand, but the company is "flying closer to the sun than [it would] like to see,'' Brad Sorenson, senior vice president of supply chain, told the Journal.

  6. Mick Farrell, CEO of ResMed, which makes ventilators and other breathing aids, is leading with a human element to secure chips. He tells chipmakers, "Every single chip you give me gives the gift of breath to a person suffocating," the Journal reported.

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