Medtech firms racing to meet COVID-19 demand

2023-01-17 09:18:06China Daily Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download
Special: Battle Against Novel Coronavirus

An employee works on an oxygenator production line at a company in Shenyang, Liaoning province. (Photo/Xinhua)

Chinese medical device companies are gearing up capacity for novel coronavirus-related medical supplies like oxygenators, pulse oximeters and ventilators amid surging demand after the country optimized COVID-19 prevention and control measures.

Authorities concerned have also stepped up efforts to remove constraints undermining the efficiency of related industrial and supply chains, for instance, a shortage of some raw materials.

Micomme Medical, a manufacturer of high-end medical products for respiratory disease treatment in Changsha, Hunan province, said its output of respiratory equipment like ventilators has hit up to 500 units per day, while that for disposable single-use products sometimes stands at some 2,000 pieces daily.

"Since early December, our staff has been sleeping in the factory and working round-the-clock to ensure optimal production output," said Wang Na, an executive of the company.

The company's noninvasive ventilators and high-flow respiratory therapy equipment are included in China's general treatment guidelines for COVID-19 patients.

Amid the recent demand spike for relevant products triggered by the contagion, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology — the nation's top industry regulator — has communicated with several major enterprises in relevant areas to research problems and challenges that hinder the expansion of related product production amid efforts to strengthen coordination and increase supplies.

As of the end of December, daily pulse oximeter capacity in China had risen to more than 250,000 units, the ministry said.

It also said it will continue to motivate enterprises to increase supplies of key anti-epidemic equipment and materials.

Local governments have also taken action to help ease burdens of enterprises and increase supplies.

On Jan 3, Ji Jing, deputy mayor of Suzhou, Jiangsu province, inspected oxygen generator and compression nebulizer manufacturer Carer Medical Technology, and urged joint efforts to help enterprises solve challenges in recruitment, raw materials and cash flow.

Market analysts said there is huge growth space in China for oxygenator producers, as Chinese customers are increasingly interested in healthy living and related products.

In developed countries, around 20 percent of households keep at least one oxygenator on hand, while the figure in China is only 1 percent, according to the Journal of Appliance Science and Technology, a publication affiliated with the China Household Electric Appliance Research Institute.

Contec Medical Systems Co Ltd, a high-tech company focusing on the research, manufacture and distribution of medical devices, said it has adjusted its production lines and hired more workers to boost daily pulse oximeter capacity to 150,000 units.

Contec's oximeter products alone generated sales revenue of 154 million yuan ($22.89 million) during the first half of 2022, about 50 percent of the company's total top line during the period.

Jiangsu Yuwell Group, the world's largest oxygenator producer, said it has significantly increased its oxygenator output to meet surging demand from medical institutions and households since late November.

In 2021, its combined oxygenator and ventilator sales stood at 2.62 billion yuan, accounting for around 40 percent of its total revenue.

The company has also been donating oxygenators to 832 counties that have shrugged off poverty in recent years starting this week. It plans to donate oxygenators to all 11,532 townships in county-level regions.


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