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A substantial marketplace is developing online for pre-owned CPAP masks and machines. Sites like craigslist and ebay offer used CPAP masks and machines at heavily reduced prices, giving many access to CPAP supplies they otherwise would not be able to afford. The benefits are undeniable, and lots of good has come from this marketplace. But I was recently talking to a good friend who is a bit of a germaphobe. You know the type --- the kind of guy who says "screw you" instead of "bless you" when you sneeze in his presence. But he raised an objection to the used CPAP equipment marketplace that I hadn't thought of, and couldn't quite rebut, at least not based on any facts at my own disposal. He thought there was a risk that Tuberculosis could be transmitted to a buyer of pre-owned CPAP equipment if the seller had contracted the disease. So I did a bit of investigation. There are a number of cleaning products for CPAP machines and masks on the market that a buyer would certainly be able to use. The Citrus II Wipes and the disinfectant Control III are among the most popular. However, my call to their manufacturers revealed that neither would kill tuberculosis. The Control III product is strong enough to kill HIV, but not strong enough to combat TB. Bleach was the solution suggested by one manufacturer. But as we all know, bleach would surely destroy the equipment.

So I raise the question not to alarm people who have benefited from pre-owned equipment, but rather to get some sort of confirmation that the chances are so slim to not even need to worry about it. Please give me the ammunition I need to rebut my friend's objection to the free and open exchange of pre-owned CPAP equipment.

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Comment by Judy on February 6, 2009 at 2:12pm
As the current owner of TWO previously owned xPAPs I've gotta vouch for buying used xPAPs. Of course doing so entails some "buyer beware". Its not that difficult to ask for the serial number on the xPAP to check, nor to ask the total user hours on it and it goes w/o saying you use an auction site that offers some protection to both seller, and more importantly from our stand point, the buyer. There are often brand new xPAPs offered for sale at auction that are "legal" (i.e, not stolen) and are usually a device wherein a new updated model has come on the market. Even craigslist isn't all that bad an idea IF there is an xPAP offered in your area where you can go examine it before handing over your money and taking possession. I've never used craigslist so I don't know what protections, if any, are in place. I bought from a fellow forum member, from yahooauctions when they still existed and from cpapauction. com and I've been totally satisfied w/my xPAP purchases.
Comment by sleepycarol on January 31, 2009 at 11:55pm
Well of course you are going to think we are nuts -- after all you are a DME provider of equipment. Many can not afford the high cost of masks and supplies from a brick and mortar DME.

All a cpap does is blow air -- granted if you get the pressure too high you may induce central apneas which carry their own risks. But if they have had a sleep study and pretty much know what pressure works for you then I see nothing wrong with being able to purchase machines from other sources and leave the licensed provider out. Cut the middle man and you save costs -- which may mean someone is treating their sleep apnea or risking serious health consequences due to not having the means to purchase from licensed providers.

As far as mask goes, I would have been unable to afford all of the masks I tried before I found the one that works best for me. Why should I feel guilty for that? I am getting optimal treatment as I check my stats via Encore Pro every few weeks and consistently have a low AHI of less than 1.

Part of the reason you need a script in the USA is due to lobbying from medical suppliers and manufacturers in order to keep their revenues high. Many medical devices and drugs are not as regulated in other countries and this helps keep the costs down. As far as the FDA making sure that all drugs and medical equipment is safe here in the States, history has proven that the job they do is haphazard at best. How many drugs have been tested and approved by the FDA only to be pulled later after deaths and other major life threatening side effects are noted and made public?
Comment by Daniel on January 31, 2009 at 9:14pm
I think you have to be nuts to buy a used mask via the internet, and I don't think I need to explain why. It isn't legal to sell a CPAP in the US unless you are a licensed provider, and the purchaser has a valid prescription.

It is legal for a licensed provider to sell used CPAPs, because 1) they are responsible to make sure the device has been properly reconditioned for resale and 2) they are supposed to make sure that the purchaser is properly instructed on the operation and maintenance of the device. Unfortunately, some providers are less scrupulous than others and will sell people used equipment without disclosing that fact (but that's another topic altogether).

There are heavy duty hospital grade germicides that kill TB, like Cidex, but it's pretty nasty stuff (and smells terrible). I wouldn't want to take any unnecessary risk in the name of saving some money. Remember, we spend about 1/3 of our lives breathing through these machines. Isn't it worth it for peace of mind alone?
Comment by Judy on January 31, 2009 at 7:44pm
I don't know why that hyperlink doesn't work for me but it doesn't!!! You'll have to cut and paste to read the article.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/27/health/27brod.html?_r=2&em
Comment by Judy on January 31, 2009 at 7:42pm
Yeah, except TB is coming back in this country. Mostly brought in by infected illegal aliens from underdeveloped countries. And not just TB but other diseases thought to be no longer present here. There was a recent article related to this subject:

A Little Dirt Is Good For You



E-bay does NOT allow the sale or auctioning of CPAP devices. cpapauction.com does but does require that you submit a script before you can bid on a CPAP and if a bi-level the script must be for a bi-level.

All that being said I bought a wonderful Resmed S8 AutoSet Vantage complete w/just 505 hours on it from a member of one of the apnea support forums. I bought a Respironics pre-M Series Bi-PAP w/Bi-Flex complete but used w/just over 500 hours on it via cpapauction.com. I certainly have never regretted either purchase!!!
Comment by Henning on January 31, 2009 at 7:09pm
I agree with Carol. But TB has not been a problem here in the country for a couple of decades.
Henning
Comment by sleepycarol on January 31, 2009 at 6:46pm
Does your friend eat in restaurants? It would appear to me that eating at a table that has been swiped by a "possibly" clean dish cloth is a danger to your health as well. Who knows who has drank from that glass before you or used the utensils prior to you. Many of the larger chains have dishwashers to sanitize the dishes, but people are handling the silverware to wrap it, bringing your food to the table etc.

I feel as long as you wash the masks, etc. prior to using you are safe -- at least as safe as you can be with the way things are in our society today -- look at all the food recalls, etc. Even if we think we are safe -- are we really?

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