House panel investigates White House trade adviser Navarro after ventilator contract canceled

The House Oversight subcommittee has opened an investigation into all federal agreements reached by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro after the Trump administration abruptly canceled a with 6 million ventilator deal with the Royal Philips, Rep. King Krishnamurti, D-Il. On monday.

Krishnamurthy, chairman of the Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee, said the panel was examining the newcomers as part of an ongoing investigation into agreements reached by the Trump administration on the coronavirus epidemic.

In a statement to CNBC, Krishnamurthy said, “Under the management of Peter Navarro, a senior adviser to President Trump, the administration was taken advantage of by Philips Resporonicus while negotiating the cost of a life-saving ventilator.” Philips Resporonics is a subsidiary of Royal Philips based in the Netherlands.

The Philips agreement, released by the Department of Health and Human Services in April, sought to boost U.S. ventilator national reserves as hospitals, primarily in the New York area, to face shortages at the peak of their Covid-19 outbreak last spring. Fell. Under the agreement, 2,200 ventilators have been ordered by the Dutch health technology company by the end of May, with an additional 43,000 ventilators.

But Philips said Monday that as HHSA abruptly canceled the rest of the contract, Philips would only have to supply 12,300 ventilators instead. Shares of the company traded down about 3% in midday trading.

HHS declined to comment on the story because “this agreement is subject to internal HHS investigation and legal review,” HHS said. Stephanie Bylake, a spokeswoman for the Assistant Secretary of State for Preparation and Response, said in a statement.

Krishnamurthy had earlier published a report on the deal, criticizing the Trump administration for being a “waste of taxpayer funds” due to “ineffective negotiations”. The report said the contract was negotiated by Navarro, which failed to get a fair price for each ventilator.

Krishnamurthy said Monday that American taxpayers have saved સ્પ 400 million after my subcommittee spotted a single Trump administration spam deal for the supply of COID-19. “My subcommittee will press Philips to pay the rest of the money to the federal government. We will also request documents from all the agreements that PT Navarro has negotiated the Covid-1 response.”

Defending the deal earlier, Frances van Heuten, CEO of the Netherlands-based Royal Philips, said the company was “transparent about our production ramp-up plans, pricing and allocation policies.”

In the early months of the epidemic, U.S. And the world’s health systems were preparing to get a rare ventilator, which could be used to help patients suffering from respiratory problems breathe. The Trump administration should use the Defense Production Act to allow American companies, including General Motors, General Electric and Ford, to use their factories to increase production of medical equipment.

However, the standard of care for Covid-19 patients has evolved as new treatment strategies have come out and new drugs are coming to market, leaving many new ventilators unusable, the Washington Post reported earlier this month.

In a rush to increase production of potential life-saving medical supplies, HHS and other federal agencies have given billions of dollars in contracts that have not faced the level of scrutiny that would normally do.

“The Trump administration is spending more money on contracts than we’ve ever spent on contracts, and it’s doing it in an environment where there aren’t enough people to see what’s going on.” Brunez, and Daniel J. Washington at Washington University. Evans School Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Governance.

Brunzez published a report earlier this year showing that the average government contracting officer is currently responsible for about 1,400 contracts per year, and that was before the epidemic began. He added that under the Obama administration, contracting officers were responsible, on average, for about 37,370 contracts per year.

– CNBC Noah Higgins-Dunn Contributed to this report.