Respiratory device companies that belong to AdvaMed have boosted ventilators production to 2,000–3,000 per week — and expect to soon reach 5,000–7,000 ventilators per week. Last year, the same companies were making only about 700 ventilators per week for domestic distribution.
“This historic response is nothing short of extraordinary,” AdvaMed CEO Scott Whitaker said in a news release. “Across the board, our ventilator members have boosted production by more than 285% to meet the demands of this global crisis. Through it all, our partners in government agencies have worked hard alongside our industry to help where we’ve needed it most, speeding approvals and fast-tracking the production of these sophisticated life-saving devices so manufacturers can get them where they are needed.”
Some — including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo — have said the government should be doing more. An NPR report out today detailed how companies are ramping up production even as FEMA and HHS lag on making orders.
“You talk about World War II,” Zoll Medical CEO Jon Rennert explained to NPR last week. “Everybody who was making planes knew the government was going to buy them. We need that uncertainty to be removed here.”
President Trump has also hesitated to use the Korean War–era Defense Production Act to spur more production, saying the mere threat of using it is enough.
AdvaMed itself thinks the use of the DPA could hinder imports, but the group has also called on FEMA to centralize procurement for medical ventilators
Ventilator supply matters because doctors treating people with COVID-19 have had to make life-and-death decisions about who with severe cases gets the devices and who does not.
AdvaMed companies making ventilators include Draeger, GE Healthcare, Hillrom, Medtronic, Philips, ResMed and Vyaire Medical. AdvaMed’s March 25–31 survey found companies adding entire new manufacturing lines, repurposing existing manufacturing lines for less essential equipment, training and reorienting engineers, and adding new employees to meet the demand.
The ventilator production projections out of Advamed didn’t include the host of non-medtech outfits including General Motors, Tesla and more that are jumping into the space to produce the devices.