HHS terminates ventilator contracts, says national stockpile is now full

HHS is terminating contracts with ventilator makers as it says the national stockpile is now full, The Hill reported. 

The agency awarded $3 billion in emergency contracts for ventilators in the spring as the COVID-19 pandemic brought about shortages of the machines in hospitals across the country. 

"By terminating the remainder of deliveries from these contracts, HHS is balancing federal stockpile requirements with commercial market demand for ventilators," an HHS spokesperson told The Hill. "As a result, HHS is saving the U.S. taxpayer millions of dollars by halting delivery of additional ventilators that are no longer required."

HHS said Aug. 31 that it has terminated a contract with Philips for 42,900 ventilators, as well as contracts with two other ventilator makers, saying the U.S. now "has enough ventilators to meet maximum national capacity in a crisis," according to The Washington Post. The contract with Philips had been criticized by a House oversight committee, which said the agency overpaid for the ventilators by $500 million. 

The oversight committee said Aug. 31 it is investigating the negotiations with Philips after the $646 million contract was abruptly terminated, according to The Hill. Philips told the Associated Press it was not given a formal reason for the cancellation. 

HHS also told The Hill it is canceling contracts with Hamilton Medical and Vyaire Medical, which were to produce 38,000 ventilators to be delivered to the National Strategic Stockpile by the end of the year. 

General Motors and Ford said they have fulfilled their ventilator contracts with HHS, the Detroit Free Press reported. 

On Aug. 31, GM and its partner Ventec Life Systems delivered the last of the 30,000 ventilators it owed to the U.S. under its $489 million contract. 

Ford delivered the last of its 50,000 ventilators required under its $336 million contract on Aug. 28, the Detroit Free Press reported.

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