By Toby Sterling
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Philips, the Dutch medical equipment company, on Monday (NASDAQ:) said it would recall ventilators and “CPAP” breathing devices globally because of a foam part that might degrade and be inhaled.
The company said that though the matter would cause “revenue headwinds” in its sleep & respiratory care division, that would be compensated by strength in other businesses. It left its full year financial guidance of “low-to-mid-single-digit” comparable sales growth unchanged.
Philips had first disclosed the issue, for which it then took a 250 million euro ($303 million) charge, in its first quarter-earnings report in April.
The company’s guidance is for users of the CPAP machines, which help people with sleep apnea, to halt usage. Doctors with patients using life-sustaining ventilators should first consider whether the potential danger from the foam outweighs other risks.
The degrading foam, which is used to dampen the machines’ sound, can turn into small, inhaled particles, irritating airways and potentially causing cancer, Philips said. Gasses released by the degrading foam may also be toxic or carry cancer risks.
Philips spokesman Steve Klink said the company was working with health authorities on a safe replacement for the foam, but the new material must first clear testing and regulatory hurdles.
“Philips aims to address all affected devices” as soon as possible, the company said in a statement.
In April, Philips said first quarter core earnings surged 74% in the first quarter to 362 million euros ($438 million), compared with the same period a year earlier, on a 9% rise in comparable sales.
Shares closed at 46.38 euros on Friday, up 1.6% in the year to date.
($1 = 0.8263 euros)
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