Home / US / The Congressional report accuses the Trump administration of overpaying fans during a pandemic

The Congressional report accuses the Trump administration of overpaying fans during a pandemic

The staff report written by a subcommittee on house survey blames the administration for accepting the fan manufacturer Philips Respironic’s first offer in March 2020, agreed to a higher price than all other US buyers negotiating a contract with the company between mid-December 2019 and May 2020.

The report claims that the Trump administration could have paid too much by as much as $ 500 million and compared its contract to one negotiated by the Obama administration in 2014. The report quotes “thousands of pages of previous non-public documents,” including emails between Philips and the administration. Both the White House and Philips reject the report’s conclusions.

The report says that in 201

4, the company and the federal government agreed on the “development and purchase” of 10,000 fans for $ 3,280 each. After granting Philips several extensions of the Obama-era agreement deadline, the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services agreed that a new contract would buy 43,000 units of another fan model for $ 15,000 each, despite other U.S. Buyers negotiated cheaper contracts with Philips, according to the report.

The panel’s staff wrote that “there is no indication” that the fans purchased in 2020 provided “any benefit” over the fans in the middle of negotiations between the Philips and Obama administrations.

Philips told subcommittee staff that according to the contract with the Trump administration, it is not obligated to complete its delivery of the fans until September 2022, according to the report. It sent 200 fans to HHS in June, about six weeks after the panel’s probe formally began, the report said.

Philips said on Friday that the 2014 contract was “primarily a research and development agreement” in which HHS also requested fans at prices “significantly lower than commercial prices.” The company said that the 2020 agreement offered the US government a “discount” because the list price for the respirators chosen by HHS is more than $ 21,000.

The congressional report found that HHS paid more for Philips fans than more than 90 other buyers in the United States. The subcommittee claimed that the vast majority of US buyers could negotiate prices between $ 9,327 and $ 12,313 per unit, compared to the US government’s agreed price of $ 15,000.

“The American people were deceived and Donald Trump and his team were taken to cleaners,” the Illinois Democratic rep said. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Chair of the Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee, in a statement. “The Trump administration’s misalignment of fan procurement for the country’s inventory cost the American people dearly during our worst public health crisis of our generation.”

But Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, called the report “partisan”, “misleading” and “incorrect”.

“This partisan report is nothing more than a stunt intended solely to politicize the coronavirus,” Deere wrote. “Because of the president’s leadership, the United States is leading the world in the production and acquisition of fans. No American who needed a fan was denied one, and no American who needs a fan in the future will be denied. Democrats should be ashamed of themselves for this deception. and incorrect report. “

The report is also highly critical of Philips and accuses it of profiting during a crisis. The leader of Philips Respironic’s parent company strongly disputed the report results.

“We do not recognize the conclusions of the subcommittee’s report and we do not believe that all the information we provided was reflected in the report,” said Frans van Houten, CEO of Royal Philips, in a statement. “I want to make it clear that Philips has not raised prices at any time to take advantage of the crisis.”

“Philips is proud to contribute to the fight against the pandemic through its emergency patient care and diagnostic products,” he added.

CNN’s Nikki Carvajal and Scott Bronstein contributed to this report.

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