Intuitive Surgical (NSDQ:ISRG) is reportedly refusing to sell any more of its da Vinci robot-assisted surgery platforms in Pakistan until the two it’s already got on the market there are brought back on line.
The Sindh Institute of Urology & Transplantation in Karachi asked to acquire a da Vinci system, according to The News of Pakistan, but Intuitive Surgical refused until a pair of disused da Vincis at other hospitals in Karachi are made operable again.
Intuitive said the already-installed systems at the Civil Hospital and the Government Qatar Hospital must stay on line for at least a year before it will sell any more systems in Pakistan, according to the newspaper, which cited “a senior official of the Sindh health department.”
“The reason behind the refusal was the fact that the corporation was one of international repute and the broken robotic systems at two government-run hospitals in Karachi were tarnishing its image, said the official who requested anonymity,” the paper reported.
The two existing systems, sold in 2011 at $3 million apiece, have been idle for two years after breaking down for lack of maintenance following about 100 procedures, the official said.
“The hospitals require hundreds of thousands of dollars to get the systems repaired,” he told The News, adding that the company has also rebuffed other, private Pakistani hospitals looking to buy its flagship product.
For one of the abortive deals, the local health department put up about $2.4 million (PKR250 million), the source said, “but when the manufacturing firm stated its conditions, [Sindh Institute of Urology & Transplantation] officials said they would provide half of the funds for repair of the machine at the [Civil Hospital] while the other half was to be arranged by the health department,” the official told the newspaper.
Qatar Hospital medical superintendent Dr. Khalid Masood told the paper that Intuitive asked for $381,000 to repair its da Vinci, which the hospital’s management asked the local government to provide.
A representative for Intuitive did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
($1 = PKR104.864)