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Philips settles US claims over respirator recall

Philips said Thursday it had clinched a deal in the United States to settle claims related to a recall of sleep respirators that rocked the Dutch medical tech firm.

The medical device maker in 2021 announced a major recall of its DreamStation machines for sleep apnoea, a disorder in which breathing stops and starts during sleep.

Users were said to be at risk of inhaling or swallowing pieces of toxic soundproofing foam that could cause irritation or headaches.

Times of Malta had reported that around 1,000 people were contacted by the local agent following the recall.

Philips said the deal announced Thursday would provide for "predefined cash awards" to US customers depending on which device they were using.

The final total amount of the settlement would depend on how many patients claimed compensation.

But the statement said Philips Respironics, a US subsidiary, set aside 575 million euros in the first quarter of 2023 "to cover the estimated costs of the final settlement".

The settlement is subject to approval from a court in Pennsylvania. The firm said it expected to submit its proposal later Thursday.

Any pay-outs to affected customers would not begin until the first quarter of next year. 

The company stressed that the deal "does not include or constitute any admission of liability, wrongdoing, or fault by any of the Philips parties."

Philips had previously announced in May that independent tests showed the sleep respirators at the centre of the massive recall were "unlikely" to harm patients.

The recall hit the 132-year-old company hard and by January it announced it was slashing 10,000 jobs out of a total workforce of just under 80,000 employees around the globe.