Why are new ventilators being trashed in a Miami-Dade landfill?

Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of medical equipment was apparently just thrown away.

CUTLER BAY, Fla. – The reaction was strong enough for a few f-bombs.

“All these f------ ventilators. This is what is going on. Brand new. Brand f------ new.”

The video is from a resident who was taking some garbage to the South Dade Landfill last week. He was stunned to see pallets full of brand new, wrapped medical ventilators dumped as bulky trash among mattresses, tires and other waste.

His video shows hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of ventilators sitting on trash mountain.

What’s dumped is usually plowed under within a day, so those ventilators are probably gone now.

“I just thought it was a lot of waste,” the resident said. “I mean, thousands and thousands of medical units that are being just tossed out.”

From the packaging, Local 10 News traced the model and the manufacturer: Beijing Aerospace Changfeng Ltd. in Beijing.

A posting from a broker shows the device selling at $26,000 during the height of need last spring, as U.S. medical workers scrambled to find ventilators for an exploding number of COVID-19 patients.

However, the Beijing Aerospace ChangFeng Ltd ACM812A was not on a list of 86 ventilator models approved for emergency authorized use by the FDA.

“I can understand if they were used or damaged, but these were brand new units still in the packaging,” said the resident who made the landfill discovery.

His video shows a truck dumping the ventilators.

Local 10 News tracked the company from the truck to a customs broker in Doral, where we learned that the specifics of items cleared through U.S. Customs is not public information.

“Since we are the customs broker, who clears customs for whoever the actual importer was, we can’t give that information without first getting authorization from the importer,” said Sergio Lozano, VP of Alpha Brokers Corp.

The FDA says that any medical device without approval may not be used, so the options are to either take it out of the country or take it to be destroyed.

The latter is the far less costly option of the two — and apparently, the path taken here.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."