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Drive DeVilbiss doubles down

Drive DeVilbiss doubles down

Derek LampertPORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. – Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare has decided that, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain constraints, it’s all hands on deck for its oxygen products and that means discontinuing its CPAP products. 

The company announced in early September that it will discontinue its DV5 and DV6 series of CPAP devices in December – even as a Philips recall has put a premium on those devices – to better manage raw material shortages and better meet increased demand for oxygen. 

“It certainly wasn’t a simple decision,” said CEO Derek Lampert. “But any decision to invest and allocate resources to CPAP products had an adverse effect on our ability to produce oxygen products. We have an obligation to our customers and patients to fulfill our mission to enhance lives and, given the current pandemic, that’s with our oxygen products. We can’t let the recall sway us from our true north.” 

DeVilbiss Healthcare, which was acquired by Drive in 2015, was one of the earliest innovators of CPAP therapy in 1989. 

Discontinuing its CPAP products means Drive DeVilbiss can dedicate everything from additional floor space to additional production lines to making oxygen products at its manufacturing center in Somerset, Pa., Lampert says. 

“I can’t stress enough how much it gives us more resources,” he said. 

Drive DeVilbiss has seen demand for its oxygen products more than double during the pandemic, compared to a typical year, Lampert says. 

“The momentum is not slowing, either,” he said. “The unmet need is immense and will likely continue well after the pandemic fades.” 

Securing raw materials and needed parts is also difficult, not to mention expensive, for oxygen products, but now Drive DeVilbiss can focus its manpower on that product category, Lampert says. 

“We’re doing everything possible, with our No. 1 priority being keeping production at a maximum capacity,” he said. “We’re air freighting when we can’t secure a boat. We’ve even chartered planes.” 

While Drive DeVilbiss has absorbed increased costs for “many months,” Lampert says, the company did pass on a portion of those costs to providers on Sept. 1. 

“We’re trying to keep costs as low as possible,” he said, “but first and foremost, we need to keep production going.”


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