HHS Could Spend Billions to Combat Ventilator Shortages

The Department of Health and Human Services is seeking companies that can produce 100,000 or more ventilators to help combat Covid-19, according to request for information released on March 21.

According to the RFI, the government is seeking to:

  • Identify manufacturers that have the current capability to produce ventilators.
  • Identify manufacturers that are able to quickly modify their current capabilities to produce ventilators.
  • Use this information to develop strategies that may be used to support COVID-19 emergency response effort.

Responses to the RFI are due today, March 24, at 6 p.m. Eastern time.

Interested contractors should provide information for multiple scenarios of price and quantity, for as few as 5,000 ventilators to a maximum of 100,000. Additional purchases may be necessary. The government may also buy associated consumables. Minimum requirements for the ventilators can be found here.

(Defense Department)
A biomedical equipment specialist works on maintenance of a ventilator.

No estimate for the value of this contract was provided. In September 2019, HHS purchased a ventilator and anesthesia machine for about $43,000 and purchases of portable ventilators have been between $24,000 to $28,000, according to Bloomberg Government data. On GSA Advantage, an online federal purchasing gateway, a ventilator can be found for about $4,000.

Based on the $4,000 cost of a ventilator and the requirement of 100,000, this contract could be worth at least $400 million. If the costs are at higher end of the range — $28,000 or $43,000 — obligations for 100,000 ventilators rise to billions of dollars.

To contact the analyst: Robert Levinson in Washington, D.C. at rlevinson@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Daniel Snyder at dsnyder@bgov.com; Jodie Morris at jmorris@bgov.com

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