04 September 2009 19:35 [Source: ICIS news]
By Ivan Lerner
NEW YORK (ICIS news)--There will be no slowdown in 2009 for healthcare polymers market growth, a Dow Chemical executive said on Friday.
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“Dow sees the potential to continue that growth rate for the coming years,” he told ICIS news.
Growth drivers include the increased popularity of home healthcare and ambulatory care centres (walk-in clinics), which need durable and lightweight plastics that can be designed to include anti-microbial properties, hemocompatability and micro-moulding, said the Dow executive.
A strong short-term driver could be the fallout from Medicare and Medicaid’s decisions to restrict reimbursement and any costs related to the treatment of complications of hospital acquired infections (HAIs), he said.
“This has the potential to push many hospitals further into the red unless they implement new and effective protocols and devices to combat HAIs,” said Eckel.
Regulatory bodies have had a major impact on polymer use and development in healthcare markets, noted Eckel. “One area that Dow sees as a major hurdle for innovation is the cost of material substitution.”
Dow estimated that when swapping out a like-for-like material, the costs in regulatory work, stability testing, clinical trials and the like can surpass $1m (€700,000) and can take two years of development.
“The barrier to change is very high, and the innovation threshold to offset the cost of that hurdle is sometimes insurmountable,” said Eckel.
Dow has been a long-time provider of engineered resins and polycarbonate/acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) blends to the medical device market. In June, the company launched its portfolio of HEALTH+ Polymers to focus on medical and healthcare products.
The company’s most recent advance, with “tremendous potential in the marketplace”, said Eckel, is CONTINUUM DMDA-6620 HEALTH+, a bimodal polyethylene designed for use in extrusion and injection blow moulding pharmaceutical applications such as pill bottles or drums.
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