BUFFALO, N.Y.--In what stakeholders call a victory for the
entire respiratory industry and the patients it serves, AirSep
Corp. executives said that giant Internet marketer eBay will cease
selling prescription oxygen devices.
The issue of what happens to concentrators and other oxygen
delivery devices after an oxygen patient dies has long been a
concern to industry stakeholders, according to AirSep and others,
with many risks for consumers who assume ownership of used
equipment via garage and Internet sales. There is, for example, no
assurance that the level of oxygen is appropriate for the user, and
the absence of clinical oversight can lead to dangerous
In the fight to eliminate sales of prescription respiratory
equipment on eBay, the industry has finally won, said AirSep's Joe
Priest, president and CEO.
"Kathy Sanchez and our staff did yeomen's work to change eBay's
policy regarding the sale of prescription oxygen devices on the
site," Priest said. "Every time we saw one up, they sent an e-mail
and told them it was a medical device, [that oxygen is] an
FDA-controlled drug, and it's just not a device that should be on
The effort took two years and involved weekly--or even
more--phone calls and e-mails to eBay officials, said Sanchez,
AirSep's marketing and public relations manager. In February, she
received an e-mail from Jack Christin Jr., eBay's senior regulatory
counsel, stating that the sale of oxygen concentrators, oxygen
compressors, oxygen conservers and their accessories that require a
prescription would not be allowed. The policy is applicable to the
U.S. and Canadian eBay sites.
Nichola Sharpe, senior public relations manager, eBay corporate
communications, said the decision came following contact between
eBay and the FDA, as well as AirSep and other respiratory product
manufacturers including Inogen, Hill-Rom and Invacare. "[We] worked
both with the FDA and with manufacturers of prescription oxygen
devices and decided that these devices should not be sold on eBay,"
Since the policy change, Sanchez said she has noticed a
remarkable decline in the number of oxygen products listed on the
site. "We were thrilled that we received the notice that eBay was
changing its policy," she added, noting that suppliers and patients
alike have applauded the effort.