Philips has recalled a number of breathing devices and ventilators due to the fact that they might rapidly degrade and become toxic which could potentially cause cancer. The Dutch medical equipment company made this known on Monday in a statement about its decision to make this move.
In the report, company made it known that the foam used to dampen the machines’ sound can degrade and quickly emit small particles which can in turn irritate human airways and the degrading toxic foam can carry cancer risks according to Gases.
The company’s CEO Frans Van Houten said the company is one of the largest makers of sleep apnea machines and ventilators and that puts the number of machines to be recalled within the region of 3 to 4 million.
Share in the group were down by 4.2% to 44.42 euros by 08:50 GMT in Amsterdam as the group took a 250 million euro charge for the issue after making the announcement of an identical provision in its first quarter-earnings report back in April which brings the total cost of the problem to 500 million euros.
“We’re going to put all our capacity to focus entirely on replacing and repairing these units,” Van Houten said in a call, a process he said would likely take a year.
That “has a consequence that we will not be able to serve new customers, so there’s going to be a shortage in the field”.
Steve Klink who is Philips spokesperson said that about 80% of the affected devices were machines which were used to help people with sleep apnea which is known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines.
Those who use these machines were told to halt the usage with immediate effect. Philips account for two-third of CPAP machine sales in the United States alone according to reports.
The other 20% of affected devices were ventilators. Doctors and patients using life-sustaining ventilators should first consider whether the potential danger from the foam outweighs other risks, the company said.
“Philips has received reports of possible patient impact due to foam degradation,” the company said in a statement. “To date, there have been no reports of death as a result of these issues.”
Complaints about the devices had earlier been received by the company according to Klink and this accounts for 0.03% of those machines sold in 2020.
The company said the matter would cause “revenue headwinds” in the division making the devices but that would be compensated by strength in other businesses.
Philips made it known that it was working with health authorities on a safe replacement for the foam but it must first clear testing and regulatory hurdles. The company stated its first-quarter core earnings surged 74% to 362 million euros unlike the same period in the year prior on a 9% rise in comparable sales.
(US$1 = 0.8263 euros)