HHS overpaid $500M for ventilators, House oversight panel says

A report released July 31 from Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee found that HHS overpaid by as much as $500 million for ventilators to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, The Hill reported. 

The report found that HHS paid health technology company Philips $15,000 per ventilator, more than any other U.S. purchaser. Some buyers negotiated prices as low as $9,327 per ventilator, according to the report. 

The committee said HHS also failed to take Philips up on an offer to speed up shipments of ventilators.

According to an email obtained by the committee, an official from Philips emailed HHS Jan. 21 saying "Please let us know how we could help out or if you may expect a need to accelerate any shipments." 

An HHS official didn't respond to the offer to speed up shipments until March 4, the oversight panel said. 

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., chairman of the oversight committee, told The Hill: "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."

Philips CEO Frans van Houten told The Hill: "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. I would like to make clear that at no occasion has Philips raised prices to benefit from the crisis situation."

HHS didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill

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