House report accuses Trump administration of ‘ruining, cheating or misusing’ US ventilator contract

Representative Raja Krishnamurthy, a Democrat from Illinois, questioned the witnesses during the impeachment inquiry hearing of the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 in Washington, DC, USA.

Jacqueline Martin | AP | Via Bloomberg Getty Images

The US House Oversight Committee accused the Trump administration of “inefficient negotiations” for ventilators at the start of the coronovirus epidemic, saying it “scandered” more than $ 500 million in taxpayer funds for the necessary equipment.

According to a report released on Friday by Chairman Raja Krishnamurthy, D-Il, “Unaccountable attempts by the Trump administration to procure for ventilators could result in a waste of $ 500 million or more of taxpayers’ money.”

The committee said the Trump administration abused an existing contract with Philips Respironics, after Philips failed to deliver 10,000 Trilogy Evo universal ventilators in 2014, after agreeing to pay $ 15,000 for the Trilogy EV 300 ventilator this year. After the $ 3,280 epilator was ordered in 2014, the report stated.

The committee said there was no evidence that the Trump administration tried to negotiate a lower price for the ventilator.

According to the report, the original contract was called for a 10,000 trilogy Evo ventilator to be delivered to the US government after June 2019.

The report noted, “The Trump administration misapplied Phillips’ repeated failures to meet contract requirements. It gave Phillips three additional extensions, the last of which for final delivery of ventilators by June 2021 Allowed to be delayed. ” “If the Trump administration had conducted the Phillies according to the terms of the Obama-era contract, the country would have had 10,000 ventilators, which would have been needed if the coronovirus crisis had occurred.”

White House officials, led by US trade adviser Peter Navarro, negotiated a new contract with Philips, agreeing to pay nearly five times the original price for the equipment, the investigation found. The new contract called for 43,000 Trilogy EV300 ventilators for $ 15,000, which is also higher than a third model, Trilogy Evo, which sells for $ 11,167 on the market listing.

Trilogy Evo Universal and Trilogy Evo appear to be two different ventilator products. But the committee said, “Apart from the price, there is no difference in appearance or functionality between the Trilogy Evo Universal, Trilogy Evo and Trilogy EV 300,” the report said.

The report notes that more than half a billion dollars of waste, fraud, or misuse occur in the efforts of the Trump administration. Phillips should return the excess so that it can help the nation’s response to the coronovirus epidemic.

“It has been transparent about our production plans, pricing and allocation policies. We have collaborated and distributed the requested information to the subcommittee,” France-based parent company Royal Philips CEO Frances van Houten said in a statement on Friday. “

Philips Respironics is a subsidiary that sells sleep, breathing and respiratory care equipment.

Van Houten said the company “does not recognize the findings in the subcommittee’s report, and we believe that not all of the information we have provided has been reflected in the report.”

Democrats on the committee said they investigated to find out why the country went without adequate numbers of ventilators during the “early critical months” of the coronovirus epidemic.

The report stated that the findings were based on documents and information obtained from Philips Respironics.

A White House spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.


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