Philips, a renowned manufacturer of healthcare equipment, has announced the suspension of sales for its sleep apnea machines in the United States due to alarming health risks. The decision comes after the company detected a critical flaw in its devices, which were found to emit foam particles into users’ airways, posing potential dangers to their health.
In 2021, Philips initiated a recall of its Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) machines, citing “potential health risks.” The recall affects devices manufactured between 2009 and April 21st, 2021. The root cause of the issue lies in the polyester-based polyurethane foam used by Philips to minimize sound and vibration in the machines.
|CPAP and BiPAP machines
|2009 – April 21st, 2021
This foam, over time, deteriorates, leading to the release of particles that users may inadvertently inhale or swallow, thereby risking injury. Philips has acknowledged the severity of the situation and taken proactive steps to address it.
To rectify the issue and meet the requirements outlined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Philips has entered into a consent decree with the Department of Justice and FDA. While specific details of the agreement are pending court approval, Philips has committed to refraining from selling new CPAP and BiPAP devices in the US until the regulatory standards are met.
Despite the sales suspension in the US, Philips assures customers that it will continue to provide service and support for existing sleep and respiratory devices in the country. Moreover, sales of the affected machines will persist outside the US.
Recognizing the magnitude of the situation, Philips has allocated €363 million (approximately $394 million) to address the FDA’s requirements and mitigate the impact of the recall. Additionally, the company has agreed to a $479 million settlement for customers who purchased the recalled devices, acknowledging its responsibility to address customer concerns and ensure accountability.
Philips faced criticism for allegedly withholding customer complaints regarding the machines from the FDA, with reports dating back to 2010. However, the company has since taken measures to address these concerns and has committed to transparency in its dealings with regulatory agencies and consumers.
In conclusion, Philips’ decision to halt sales of its sleep apnea machines in the US underscores its commitment to prioritizing customer safety and regulatory compliance. The company’s proactive approach to addressing the issue, along with its financial provisions and settlement agreements, reflects its determination to resolve the situation effectively.