Panic Sells and This Price is Waaaaay to Low! …. by Fred

Article-5823-1

How does a ventilator cost $35,000? Inquiring minds at SST want to know and your favorite correspondent is gonna tell ya the long and short of it. Short: They don't, that's just what they sell'm for. The long? Well, read away, it's not like you have to go to work today, right? 

What can I get for $35,000 of your tax money? Well, your favorite president, who is busy screwing you and the New Yorkers you love,  put it:

"“As usual with ‘this’ General Motors, things just never seem to work out,” Trump tweeted. “They said they were going to give us 40,000 much needed Ventilators, ‘very quickly’. Now they are saying it will only be 6000, in late April, and they want top dollar."

I gues that means he isn't buying ventilators at $35,000 each from GM and their partner Ventec…"they were preparing to roll out as many as 10,000 ventilators a month, many of which would be produced on a new assembly line at a GM facility in Indiana."

Oh, just $1.4 Billion dollars.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/ceo-ventilator-maker-speaks-out-trump-invokes-defense-production-act-n1170881

What can you get for $35,000 of your own money?

One of these:

Vehicles-ct4-mov-masthead-2020-l-m

Oh the white privilege! Other colors available, so take that racism! Now if all you see is a carbon emitting behemoth fear not, you can always get one of these hot models:

Commy Version

My, what a beauty. (That's a commy model, not a Ventec one BTW) I bet sophisticated New Yorkers and oligarchs, like this caring friend of your favorite president,

David_geffen_yacht_03-28-2020

would like one of these on hand right now. I wonder how many he's donating to hospitals in need? Cadillacs, that is, not ventilators. I hear the hear those are in short supply, unlike Cadillacs.

Now you are probably wondering, being the intelligent and sophisticated readers you are, just how a Cadilac ST4 cost as much as a start of the art piece of medical equipment that is short supply everywhere? Well, I'm here to help you out. Take a look:

Does it come with a moonroof

Does that ventilator come with a moon roof? Why there's a $1,200 option right there you don't have on that ventilator.  Then there are these roundy round things, what's the word? Oh, yeah – Wheel! Boy is that a 5,000 year old technology you can see examples of at the Smithsonian when they reopen? Yep. 'Cept these here are special. Aluminum cast – every one xrayed to check for porosity too -, machined, polished and with the added bonus of steel belted radial tires and can you believe it a tire pressure monistor system installed! Boy oh boy only $1,900 on ebay. (You're probably wondering who stole those 4 pictured since the dealer usually only sells one at at time for when you dent the rim because you hit a pothole with an underinflated tire, but hey, GM buys them in packs of 4 by the tens of thousands because Cadilac production  a whole lot higher than that 300 ventilators a month Ventec is making.) 

Wheels!

I wonder what ventilator wheels costs? If you say mid-grade industrial castors are going for $22 for 4 plus shipping on Amazon, Well, looks like you have $1,850 and change for other options.

What else does your new Cadilac have?

Leather seats

Hmmm, is that Corntian leather seating on this thing? I wonder what that costs? But, does it come with new technology to keep us safe?

Ct4-technology-features-intelligent-system-l-m

Wow oh Wow! Radar/Lidar/hardyharhardar or something to keep us safe. I wonder what they use on that ventilator to prevent collisions? See how much money that safety technology costs! Do you think there are seatbelts and airbags on that ventilator? That's about $3,000 more or less all told, but don't tell anybody, Panic Sells and This Price is Waaaaay to Low! 

Oooh all techy

High Technology and not a clean room in sight. What technology is on that Cadillac?

Look at what it has!

Hey hey hey, look at that sweet Cadilac display. Audio, phone , a Nav system – woooeee we ain't get'n lost in the hospital again. That ventilator's got a nav system ain't it? and can I synch my phone to it to be hands free so I can work and talk at the same time? Maybe load up my favorite playlist so my patient can have some music to listen too as he lays there NOT dying? How about I load up some Gregorian chant to calm everyone in the ICU? What kind of sound system does $35,000 of medical ventilator technology come with? Let's shift gears and look under the hood, metaphorically anyway.

No Trannys needed

Hey, do surgeons make those trannys? Well, maybe not that kind but we won't need either nor that turbo-charged I4, the gas tank, fuel system, catalytic converter and muffler. There goes another $10,000 of cost. 

GM assembly line

Oh look, an assembly line we shouldn't have to pay for. Think we'll need those axles, brakes; some fine class A doors, hood, roof; bumper, mirrors, ecoat, paint, spare tire, carpet? Yeah, but think of the money you have to spend on that 21st century air flow system that uses:

 

Hose connectors

Hoses and connectors. Well at least you won't have to break into the "Its an emergency, hurry" supplies of this stuff to stop leaks:

Duck Tape

Yep, state of the art medical equipment from Ventec. CEO and ventilator system pictured:

Ventec venticlator and CEO

You know what we are really missing on this ventil… cough, cough; sorry, it's notn'n, probably just the flu, what we are missing: Cup holders. This is america. At least on a $35,000 Cadillac I can get two of these:

Ooh a cup holder! Better get two

Conveniently located right next to the gear shift handle. Have you ever wonder what happens when you're running down the road full bore think'n how rich you are gonna be when some damn Orange thing jumps in front of you and you shove that gear shift into reverse think'n it'll stop crash you're about to have? Ask Mr. Kipple. Meanwhile guess who just disappeared from the news: 

Lady in Red

Red is the new Green comrades. 

Where you at Mary, you run GM, where ya hid'n now and why? How did you pick this company and just how much of $1.5Billion were you gonna rip us off for  use to buy or refurbish capital equipment at taxpayer expense for other uses?

"GM said in a statement that it will be “donating its resources at cost.” Orange Man Bad. OK Bloomberglaw, owned by the guy who has spent close to a billion on media to get 13% in the polls and a hell of a lot less on ventilators to keep New Yorkers alive, didn't write that but I bet they believe it.

If you conculded those things don't and shouldn't cost as much as a Cadilac afterall I agree.

President Trump, if anybody work'n for you reads this humble blog, I suggest you invite the dynamic due of CEOs to one of the daily Covid19 briefings next week. Give the press a copy of the GM brouchure for a Cadilac and bring in one of those ventilators made by this company and have Mary and Mr. Kiple explain just how 'cost' got to $35,000, ever. Let Mary explain why Trump had to make this public and take the heat before she did the right thing. Then ask both of them how much of their product is sourced to companies located in Communist China, orignal source of the Covid19 virus that is killing people all across the world.

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32 Responses to Panic Sells and This Price is Waaaaay to Low! …. by Fred

  1. Walrus says:

    Probably $500 for the machine and $34500 for product liability insurance. Lawyers got to eat.

  2. Fred says:

    Walrus,
    I couldn’t get much past $500 either.

  3. Sir James Dyson, of Dyson vacuum cleaner fame, designed a new ventilator ten days after getting a request from the British government and will produce 10,000 by mid-April. He will produce another 5,000 at his own cost for NHS backup and international use. I can’t find what the cost per unit is. A Guardian article says ventilators go for 5,000 to 25,000 British pounds based on the model.
    Sir James sounds almost as good as Houston’s Mattress Mack. If Mattress Mack, James Franklin McIngvale, ran for President, I would proudly vote for him.

  4. elaine says:

    N95 masks now selling for $35 each @ my local hardware store.
    A neighbor tried to explain to me some theory that claims what
    appears as price gouging to me will really insure the masks go
    into multiple hands faster & more efficiently than if they were
    selling @ the old price of 88 cents a piece b/c @ 88 cents each a few ppl would hoard large chunks.

  5. will.2718 says:

    How the $3k Ventilator project to replenish the national stockpile was killed by corporate greed?
    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/29/business/coronavirus-us-ventilator-shortage.html

  6. Fred says:

    Elaine,
    I certainly agree with the supply/demand principle. Those particular masks are likely slightly different than those used in hospitals and are probably stuff already in the distributor’s warehousing system. The normal sales volume ofventilators bought for use in hospitals is pretty low. The cost is driven up by what is pretty apparent to be over regulation and legal liability risk (which drive up the cost into the thousands of dollars). There isn’t enough day to day demand for a company like GM/Ford or even mask providers like 3M to get into that business. However this crisis doesn’t justify the standard price as fixed costs are amortized over what would normally be 3-4 years worth of production and need to be adjusted at a minimun. Given the market reponse for alternative production of ventilators a lot of attention should be paid to medical equipment industry cost factors – regulation and product liability. The first will be easier to correct (See Abbot labs Covid test developed in a matter of weeks) and the latter will take an act of Congress. (Easier said than done.)

  7. Fred says:

    Wil.2718,
    That article references some project from twelve years ago, i.e. 2008, the financial collapse. The rest is behind the paywall. I’m sure that the former administration appointees will have an excuse for 8 years of inaction. Greed fits the Bernie pro communist agenda.

  8. optimax says:

    From the Abbot website:
    “We’re ramping up production to deliver 50,000 ID NOW COVID-19 tests per day, beginning next week, to the U.S. healthcare system.
    This comes on the heels of our announcement last week of the availability of the Abbott RealTime SARS-CoV-2 EUA test under FDA EUA, which runs on m2000 RealTime molecular system for centralized lab environments. Combined with ID NOW, Abbott expects to produce about 5 million tests in April.”
    Fred, why is that ventilator white? Damn racists.
    During the ’90s a radio host calling himself The Black Avenger said, “I blacks get reparations, I’m going to buy a Cadilac dealership.”

  9. Fred says:

    oldman22,
    I am not Col. Lang. That link to the NYT article pushing a more than decade old corporate buyout as the reason there is a ventilator shortage is Chinese propaganda at best since it isn’t even Fake news but irrelevant news. It was also posted here once by someone else. It is wonderful to see some commentary about quite efficient work in china. Good for them. Maybe they can improve the quality of the test kits being returned by Spain and the masks being returned by Holland. I wonder how many Dutch nationals are going to die because of Premier Xi’s Quality equipment. Maybe GM should build their ventilators there in theose now closed Chinese factories using that the same quality of labor.

  10. optimax says:

    Fred
    A buzzfeed article states that 9% of the 6205 confirmed covid-19 cases are healthcare workers. The shortage of PPE is going to make matters worse.
    https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/zahrahirji/us-health-care-workers-sick-coronavirus
    Old drunks falling off bar stools don’t die, they just get 86ed.
    This out of work sports announcer makes these videos color commenting on everyday life. They’re hilarious.
    https://www.buzzfeed.com/ikrd/sports-broadcaster-andrew-cotter-dogs-eating?origin=thum

  11. Fred says:

    Optimax,
    That’s a three day old story and points to a total of 4 deaths in the US. And TA DA, it links the 9% statisitc to a website in Italy with Italian data updates.
    “Integrated surveillance of COVID-19 in Italy”
    That’s NOT fake news, it is propaganda. Thanks for making us all aware of the fraudulent conduct of Buzzfeed and Ms. Zahra Hirji, the reporter who hasn’t posted anything more in 3 days. I guess she’s just too darn busy working. Perhaps her degree from Brown and that masters in science writing from MIT get in the way of accuracy.
    It gets even better as the article she links to states:
    “… she had multiple health complications prior to contracting the virus. She was tested earlier that week and diagnosed 48 hours later. ” Imagine that. Prior complications.
    Did you see Sunday’s press conference? I believe Trump addressed the PPE issue, at least in NYC, by highlighting the volume of usage that the CEO of the manufacturer pointed out. Ever seen anything stolen by a shipping dock clerk or others in the supply chain? I have.

  12. Ramon says:

    If Dyson can charge $400 for a hair dryer…..

  13. optimax says:

    I’m not saying they’re all dying but but a number (nobody is keeping track) are getting sick and either can’t work or are working sick. Maybe NY is getting masks, not every worker is in every part of the country. Wait till you see doctors and nurses wearing jock straps for masks, just like junior high.
    Buzzfeed is propaganda. I consider almost all the media propaganda. I consider Trumps press conferences propaganda. We all have to figure out for ourselves what is fact and what is not.
    The summer after graduating high school a friend of mine stole a bike from the loading dock he worked. The judge gave him a choice of jail or Army. He made the right choice. Don’t know what happened to him though I do know he didn’t get killed in VN.

  14. Upstater says:

    An acquaintance works for a large multinational that makes or sells medical imagining equipment.
    One part often fails is the high voltage power cable. The company pays $100 each to a contractor in Mexico to make them. They bill the customer (usually hospitals) $2000 for the cable.
    The company pays it’s field engineers about $40 per hour and bills their time at $800 per hour.
    Why do they do this? Because they can get away with it. There are only 2 major firms making that type of equipment. Both have predatory pricing. If you want medical images, you’re gonna pay. Money isn’t spent on R&D; new machines are coming from Chinese factories, designed there.
    Like the DoD, healthcare it filled with rot and grift.

  15. Fred says:

    Optimax,
    A teenager steeling a bike 40 years ago is identical to steeling 300,000 PPEs in a health emergency. Thanks for the gratutitious VN meme.
    Ramon,
    that doesn’t mean they cost $400 to manufacture.
    Upstater,
    “Like the DoD, healthcare it filled with rot and grift.” I certainly agree with that.

  16. Eric Newhill says:

    Fred,
    Good stuff as always. I got several chuckles and a couple more full bellied laughs out of it. Just what the doctor ordered.
    I don’t understand this mask and vent shortage crisis. In 2009 – so long ago that it is almost beyond the reach of human memory – the H1N1 virus, which caused serious respiratory issues, infected an estimated 85 million Americans, many children. 12,500 deaths were directly attributed to the virus and many more hospitalizations. CNN said it wasn’t as bad as the seasonal flu and Obama thought about shutting down all schools, but settled on only schools were a positive case had been identified.
    I digress – My real question is why was there was no shortage crisis then? That was more cases than we have currently of COVID-19. Ventilators were used to sustain life for H1N1. Did they just let the worst cases die? Did hospital staff not wear masks around patients with that highly contagious virus?
    Don’t hospital staff wear masks around patients infected with the seasonal flu? With hundreds of thousands of flu admits each year and all of the associated deaths, hospital staff forgoes vents and masks? This year is not so bad for the seasonal flu in terms of deaths and admissions as some prior years. So it can’t be COVID-19 + the flu = overwhelmed/shortage.
    Never a let a good crisis go to waste, I guess.

  17. CK says:

    An interesting factoid that I came across today:
    Chloroquine is used to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus as well as malaria. There are approx. 3,000,000 Americans who have these two ailments. One wonders how many of this 3,000,000 sample size have been admitted to hospitals for or tested positive for Sars Covid 2019. The sample size is 1% of the US population and is certainly large enough to allow logical conclusions to be drawn.
    Of course someone would have to ask the question wouldn’t they.

  18. Fred says:

    CK,
    Good questions, I’ve seen some similar online but have not seen any reports out yet on a correlation.
    Eric,
    I don’t think the later was as infectous, there certainly wasn’t a media storm like we see and that would drive people to ERs early. As to ventilators, what’s the non-crisis utilization rate, 65-70%? There isn’t going to be a giant reserve of them, or trained techs to run them, especially given what they were selling for. What was the non hosipital price for a mask then, 50 cents? Was there a black-market price? I don’t think so. A lot of people wound up dead though and that was on top of the expected flu season deaths.

  19. Fred says:

    Optimax,
    Thanks for your kind reply. Don’t comment on my writings in the future.

  20. Eric Newhill says:

    Fred,
    I dunno. 85 million infected sounds like a fairly infectious disease and given the potential nastiness of an infection, I’d wear a mask if I worked in a hospital in 2009. Also, I’m pretty confident that someone with a cough who gets nervous about maybe having COVID-19, isn’t just being placed on a vent prophylactically. Panic might explain the increase in mask use, but it sure doesn’t explain the vent crisis.
    I can tell you with certainty that ICUs/vents run at around 80% utilization, normally. Of course there are regional differences and even differences from hospital to hospital within a region. 80% is an avg. The vast majority of the vent utilization is for patients who presented to the hospital with an illness (includes victims of accidents, gunshots, etc.), not post surgical. Are there really enough COVID-19 patients requiring ventilation to use up the remaining 20%? Even if that were true in a particular geography, could the surplus 20% be gathered from other regions and sent to the impacted one? It would be faster and cheaper if so.
    One problem with over-supplying hospitals with tech is that the tech tends to be used – meaning clinical thresholds for utilizing the tech become more fluid, expanded and subjective. If you build it, they will use it. IMO, the new gizmos should be govt property to be issued to hospitals when needed and returned to govt storage when not needed – the govt pay for these things after all.

  21. optimax says:

    Fred
    I apologize for insulting you. Saying it was a “gratutitious VN meme” made me angry because asking if I evfer saw someone steal something off a loading dock I answered with the only example I have personal knowledge of. Maybe I shared too much for you.
    What evidence is there besides Trump’s press conference that 300,000 PPes were stolen?

  22. Fred says:

    Optimax,
    Apology accepted.
    “What evidence is there besides Trump’s press conference that 300,000 PPes were stolen?”
    Dont take Trump’s word, just read the same comments from Governor Cuomo.
    “As fear over the new coronavirus in New York spreads faster than the outbreak, people have started to steal masks and other medical equipment from local hospitals, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters Friday.
    Not just people taking a couple or three, I mean just actual thefts of those products,” Cuomo said at a press conference from the state capital in Albany. “I’ve asked the state police to do an investigation, look at places that are selling masks, medical equipment, protective wear, feeding the anxiety.”
    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/06/people-are-stealing-face-masks-from-local-hospitals-gov-cuomo-says.html
    That was 3 weeks ago; imagine how much was stolen. This is pallets full of material. Having worked in a warehouse operation where the FBI and Dallas police busted a multi-million dollar theft ring stealing autoparts by the pallet I can tell you this is not difficult to pull off. The press, such as Newsweek, didn’t quote Kenneth Raske, president of Greater New York Hospital Association, when Cuomo made those comments. The label “fake news” is sticking for a reason and what the press leaves out is just as important, if not more so, than what they put in, like ” graduating medical student in Michigan who is about to become resident, told Newsweek seeing Trump’s comments made him feel angry.” That student needs to grow up, and so do the reporters. There are bad pepole in the world and this kind of crime makes the crisis worse, and the press highlighting emotional reactions to reality don’t help.

  23. optimax says:

    Fred
    Thievery and looting are rampant during times of crisis. A few days ago I read a story about a doctor who found a place to buy N95 masks. He was going to buy something like $17,000 worth for his hospital and the company was charging him a crazy high price. There were aisles and aisles of boxes full of PPE. Telling the press is one thing but he should tell the someone with the authority to confiscate the stuff for the good of the public.

  24. optimax says:

    Adding to what I wrote: shipments of PPE and their warehouses need to be guarded with the same security as gold.

  25. Fred says:

    Optimax,
    “Thievery and looting are rampant during times of crisis.”
    Please provide a link to current examples of looting going on.
    “…he should tell the someone with the authority to confiscate the stuff for the good of the public.”
    So you want martial law nationwide and Donald J. Trump to confiscate goods “for the good of the public”? That’s what Premier Xi’s government is doing. We aren’t a dictatorship.

  26. optimax says:

    Fred
    First I am not going to defend a position I did not take. Never did I say looting is taking place “now”. It is an historical fact that looting happens during a crisis: race riots in the 60s, 77 NY blackout, after hurricanes Katrina, etc, etc. Maybe it won’t happen this time and that’s great.
    Second, if you think hoarding and price gouging to be acceptable forms of capitalism, I won’t argue you because I don’t.

  27. Fred says:

    Optimax,
    ” if you think hoarding and price gouging to be acceptable…”
    I don’t. Take your arguementative sophistry elsewhere. Don’t bother commenting again.

  28. Fred says:

    TTG,
    The Guardian put out an artilce a few days ago noting that. Within it:
    “Ventilator experts said smaller models typically cost about £5,000 to make, while the larger devices could sell for £25,000.” That’s about $6,500 to $31,000. Notice the shift between “cost” and “sell for”. That’s one way to bury cost and determining what price these should reasonably sell for wholesale in volumes need now. Good news also as Sir James is paying for 5,000 out of his own pocket, thanks for pointing that out.
    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/26/how-the-uk-plans-to-source-30000-ventilators-for-nhs-coronavirus
    I also see Governor Cuomo is now complaining about price, noticably not mentioning company names.
    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/m7qnx3/the-cost-of-ventilators-just-skyrocketed-and-new-york-needs-thousands-more

  29. will.2718 says:

    Re Project Aura ventilator, there u go, the following is not beyond a paywall. yes, i share the skepticism of drivel put out by nyt, et al. ditto wikipedia. but here it is, like Col. Lang states, evaluate the material from the messenger separately:
    “Officials assessments
    In the 2000s, the CDC estimated a shortage of 40~70,000 ventilators in case of pandemic influenza.[42] From this assessment resulted Project Aura, a public-private initiative to design a frugal, 3,000 US$ mechanical ventilator, simple to mass-produce, and able to supply the Strategic National Stockpile.[42] Newport Medical Instruments was granted the contract, designing and prototyping (2011) the frugal ventilators to CDC officials, and expecting to later profit from the product by moving into the private market were other competing devices were sold for 10,000US$.[42] On April 2012, US Health and Human Services officials confirmed to the US Congress that the project was on schedule to file for market approval in late 2013, afterwhat the device would go into mass-production.[42] On May 2012, 12B$-worth medical conglomerate Covidien, a top actor of the mechanical ventilation market, acquired Newport for 100 millions US$.[42] Covidien soon asked to cancel the Project Aura contract since it wasn’t profitable enough.[42] Former Newport executives, government officials and executives at rival ventilator companies suspect Covidien acquired Newport to prevent the frugal 3,000 ventilator design from disturbing its profitable ventilation operation.[42] Covidien has merged in 2015 into Medtronic.[42] Project Aura looked for and then signed a new contract with Philips Healthcare. In July 2019, the FDA signed for 10,000 units of their Trilogy Evo portable ventilator, to be delivered to the SNS by mid-2020.[42]
    On March 25, Andrew Cuomo made a detailed 1h COVID19 press conference,[43][44] emphasizing an expectation of a severe shortage of ventilators, and their importance in sustaining life in severe COVID-19 cases.[45] Cuomo said New York state would ultimately need about 30,000 ventilators to handle the influx, while having only 4,000 as of March 25; on the 27th, President Trump expressed doubt about the need, saying “I don’t believe you need 40,000 or 30,000 ventilators,” and resisting calls to force businesses to produce them.[46][45] Later on the 27th, the President acceded to calls to assist states in ventilator procurement, using the Defense Production Act; fears remain that procurement will not happen in time to prevent severe shortages.[47]”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019%E2%80%9320_coronavirus_pandemic_related_shortages#Mechanical_ventilation

  30. Fred says:

    will.2718
    “Former Newport executives, government officials and executives at rival ventilator companies suspect Covidien acquired Newport to prevent the frugal 3,000 ventilator design from disturbing its profitable ventilation operation.”
    No sh##. Who at CDC issued a single source purchase order for engineering, design, and testing of ventilator prototypes? Who were the competitors quoted, inquiring minds like to know and maybe the wiki editors could ask the NYT who they talked to about that. Who issued a single source PO for said ventilators? This just highlights two more groups that will hate Donald J. Trump as this crisis is already showing the ineffectiveness of a bloated buraucracy at CDC and FDA just a we saw with the DOJ&FBI (see todays news on FISA warrants) during the Schiff hearings; and the bloated cost structure of an over-regulated industry which is providing America with the worlds most overpriced medical equipment. And we haven’t even discussed legal liability for defects in manufacture or use.

  31. KenM says:

    Regarding ventilator prices & availability, best to go directly to the (Chinese) source:
    https://www.made-in-china.com/multi-search/Ventilator/F1–CD_Surgical-Equipment-Catalog/1.html
    Prices seem to vary between US$1400 to $28000 – depending on model (for the serious hospital type ventilators) – but you likely get a big discount on bulk buys.
    Bit over a hundred pages of choices…

  32. Fred says:

    KenM,
    Thanks so much for the link to commie made crap with listed RETAIL pricing that bears zero relation to manufacturing cost. Feel free to get your government to buy in bulk. You might have trouble getting that into Sydney as your fellow Aussies are a bit peeved at China right now.
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8173905/Wharfies-stood-refusing-unload-containership-China-coronavirus-fears.html

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