Philips: China buys more CT scanners to battle coronavirus

By AuntMinnie.com staff writers

March 4, 2020 -- Sales of its CT scanners have risen in China as the country makes use of the modality to battle the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the CEO of Philips Healthcare told journalists in a press conference on Wednesday.

Philips has received "dozens of extra orders for CT scanners," Frans van Houten told journalists, according to a report published March 4 by Nasdaq. The company has also received additional orders for respiratory masks, which Philips manufactures.

CT has become one of the most effective tools for detecting early signs of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by infection with the novel coronavirus. China has experienced difficulty in the use of DNA testing to detect the coronavirus, with some patients testing negative for COVID-19 on diagnostic tests but later showing signs of disease on CT scans.

At the same time, Philips has experienced supply chain interruptions because its factories in China are only operating at 80% capacity as workers stay home due to coronavirus worries, van Houten told journalists. This could lead to the company's inventory being depleted if its factories aren't able to return to full capacity.

Philips in January forecast that the coronavirus outbreak could negatively affect its financial figures in fiscal 2020 if it led to a slump in demand for its products.

Separately, Philips provided an update on its efforts to help healthcare providers contain the coronavirus outbreak, such as by donating medical equipment and supplies to a newly built hospital in Wuhan, China.

The company said it planned to attend next week's Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference, scheduled for March 9-13 in Orlando, FL. A number of vendors have pulled out of HIMSS 2020, citing worries about the coronavirus and its potential impact on their employees.

"We will advise our employees to closely follow the restrictions and other precautionary measures and protocols taken by the HIMSS organization, as well as Philips' personal hygiene precautions required for attending meetings and large gatherings," the source wrote in an email to AuntMinnie.com. "Obviously, the situation is highly fluid, and we will be monitoring developments on a daily basis."


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