Established in New Zealand in 1969, our business was built on a vision to emulate the body’s natural humidification processes. It all started with Dr Matt Spence, an intensive care specialist working in Auckland Hospital’s Acute Respiratory Unit, who noticed his patients on mechanical breathing machines were suffering from dry and infected tracheas.
For help solving the problem, he turned to Alf Melville, a government electrical engineer, and Dave O’Hare, a senior engineer with appliances company Fisher & Paykel Industries. The three collaborated to find an innovative solution, and the result was a prototype humidifier made from a humble fruit preserving jar.
Applying what they knew about designing appliances, a small team at Fisher & Paykel Industries took the humidifier from prototype to manufactured product. The first respiratory humidifier was sold in 1970 and was marketed internationally.
By 1990, the medical division of Fisher & Paykel Industries had been renamed Fisher & Paykel Healthcare, and annual sales for the division had grown to NZ$29 million. In 2001, the appliances business divested, and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare became a separate company listed on the New Zealand and Australia stock exchanges.
While initially we produced devices for use in invasive ventilation, we have expanded our offering to other clinical applications, including products for noninvasive ventilation, nasal high flow therapy, surgery and the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. We have also expanded our product portfolio to address the needs of infants and children.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare has continued to expand globally. In the past 10 years, we have more than doubled annual operating revenue, from $503 million in the 2010 financial year to $1.26 billion in the 2020 financial year. Today, our patented respiratory products and therapies are used worldwide, impacting the lives of millions of patients each year.
Innovation and collaboration are still central to our culture at Fisher & Paykel Healthcare. It can take many years to bring a new healthcare product to market, so we focus on the long term – always looking ahead to progress our product pipeline. We aspire to continue our trajectory of sustainable, profitable growth by expanding our global reach, changing clinical practice and continuously improving our products.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare respiratory products and therapies have played a key role during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our OptiflowTM nasal high flow therapy has emerged as one of the leading frontline treatments for COVID-19 patients, and our humidification devices are used in hospitals for patients requiring mechanical ventilation.
During the pandemic we have continued to supply products helping patients with obstructive sleep apnea or requiring respiratory support in their homes. Through our relationships with customers and distribution partners, we provide the training and technical expertise healthcare providers need to maximise the impact of the life-sustaining products we design, engineer and manufacture.
In 2019 we celebrated our 50th anniversary as a company. Through this special milestone, we acknowledged our history, our people, and the impact of our products on the world.
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