News | Published March 28 2020

Managing director of Vitalograph: “the source of Covid-19 seems to be solving the problem”

Bernard Garbe is managing director of Vitalograph, a family-owned company founded by his father in 1963. Garbe oversees the company who are the longest-established manufacturer of respiratory diagnostic medical devices in the world. Speaking with the Parliamentary Review, Garbe discusses the impact of Covid-19 on business.

He said: “as you can imagine, we are very busy at present, numerically about a 20 per cent increase in sales. It will be higher, but supply chain problems earlier this year have left us with a big order book that we are gradually catching up on.

“We are shipping lung function measurement devices, particularly those intended for home use, sending their data to healthcare professionals, often via our specialist medical data servers in the 'cloud'. Also, bacterial viral filter sales are showing a big demand, the doctors and nurses are at last giving their patients, equipment and facilities the protection from aerosolised droplets in expired air that they should have been doing for years.”

With regards to the impact on clinical trials, Garbe notes that according to the press they “are supposedly slowing down, but that is not our experience. We are again seeing a big increase of new studies, for a whole range of diseases which have respiratory implications. It is difficult to train the new employees that we are recruiting, but our managers are finding ways of keeping distance but still looking at the same 'screen'. Using TeamViewer software, for example.

“Most supply chains originate in China for everything from simple capacitors to complex automation equipment. So even though we are manufacturing locally, particular component supplies were drying up. Just one missing component prevents the finished product from being shipped. But in the last week we are getting back to a normal supply situation as China relaxes it stringent measures and the factories and docks open again in Shanghai and Beijing.

Garbe concludes “we are still to get to the peak here in Europe, but at least the source of COVID-19 seems to be solving the problem.”

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Authored by

Alice Jaspars
Culture Editor
March 28 2020

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