Philips Respironics to develop portable ventilator for pandemics

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced it will provide financial support to Philips Respironics for the development of a portable respirator in an effort to boost emergency response to pandemics.

As part of a three-year, $13.8 million contract, Philips Respironics of Murrysville, Pennsylvania, will develop the ventilator in a project run by HHS' Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA). The project seeks to develop a small, easy-to-use device that health care professionals can operate without special training. It is intended to help during potential influenza and other pandemics, which can overwhelm health care facilities.

“In pandemics and other emergencies, doctors must have medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and critical equipment, such as mechanical ventilators, at the ready in order to save lives,” BARDA Director Robin Robinson said. “An affordable, portable ventilator will help us meet the needs of critically ill patients during a public health emergency, whether due to a naturally occurring pandemic or an act of bioterrorism.”

HHS has the option to purchase 10,000 initial products for $32.8 million. The ventilators are expected to be suitable for a wide age range of patients in non-pandemic situations.