Our 22nd Year of Publication
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Cover Story

Medical Polymers In India: Technological Developments And Growth Pattern

Facilitates Diagnosis And Treatment


.Mr. Govind Khetan
Vice President (Sales & Marketing) India
Kraton Polymers International Ltd., New Delhi

Mr. Govind Khetan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Polymer Technology from University of Pune. He is presently the Vice President and Country Head for Kraton Polymers India. His previous professional assignments were with reputed Multinational and Indian corporations – DSM Engineering Plastics, Indofil and Gharda Chemicals. He can be reached on govind.khetan@kraton.com

The growth of consumption for medical polymers in India.

We believe that the medium to long-term prospects for the Indian Healthcare Sector are very good as growing levels of lifestylerelated chronic diseases and higher life expectancy are driving demand. Over the years, India has emerged as preferred destination for medical tourism due to the superior quality of healthcare being offered at competitive prices. Today, India hosts about 150,000 medical tourists every year. The Indian Healthcare Sector has been estimated at around US $75 billion, growing at 12-15% CAGR, employing nine (9) million people.

Innovative solutions based on polymer technology play a significant role in facilitating diagnosis and treatment via incorporation in medical devices, implants and disposables. Modern healthcare demands an increasingly higher proportion of polymers in syringes, IV fluid bottles and bags, personnel hygiene and sanitary products. Key drivers for the use of medical polymers in healthcare are safety, lightweight, functionality and inertness, among others.

The specific product areas where polymers being supplied by the company have substituted conventional materials for medical applications.

We develop and produce advanced, engineered synthetic elastomers designed to meet the specific requirements of medical product manufacturers. Kraton™ polymers and polymer-modified systems perform like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) but are formulated without PVC, phthalates, plasticizers and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). As a result, the Kraton materials do not have the health concerns associated with plasticizers and are environmentally sound as well as recyclable. Our styrene block copolymers (SBCs) are widely recognized for their ease of processing and combination of physical properties including clarity, flexibility, resilience, strength and durability. The materials exhibit outstanding costperformance benefits for producing tough, transparent, medical tubing and IV bags, as well as a broad range of single - use, nonwoven fabrics and wound dressings.

Next generation Kraton enhanced rubber segment (ERS) styrene-ethylene/butylenestyrenes (SEBS) are characterized by even greater handling and performance properties. The polymers are highly compatible with polypropylene (PP) to form extrudable and moldable compounds with improved flow without plasticizers. ERS SEBS can withstand most hospital sterilization methods and are well suited for producing high-clarity medical bags, tubes and flexible films.

Additionally, our Cariflex™ polyisoprene products are manufactured using a simple but highly efficient polymerization process developed by Kraton. Cariflex™ is proving to be a superior alternative to natural rubber because it is free from naturally occurring rubber proteins that can trigger Type I allergic reactions. The high-strength material it produces ensures the production of strong but comfortable surgical gloves, leak-resistant medical stoppers and highelongation, resilient physiotherapy and tourniquet bands.

Effect of Improving Regulations on the global medical device industry. The regulations and compliance criteria met by Polymers Supplied by The Company.

We are not directly impacted by changes made in regulations for medical devices because our polymers are only a part of the compound used in the medical device, and testing is performed on the device itself. However, our medical customers do ask about the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) status of our polymers, and we are pleased to tell them that most of our polymers meet the requirements of USP Class VI and, additionally, many are now tested for cytotoxicity and hemolysis.

Polymers for Packaging Applications.

Kraton polymers are used as a PVC alternative for medical packaging. We develop and produce advanced, engineered synthetic elastomers designed to meet the specific requirements of medical product manufacturers.

Kraton G SEBS and SEPS polymers are the strongest, the most highly dilutive, and the most compatible with polyolefins and mineral oils of all the styrenic thermoplastic block copolymers. Kraton G polymers are second-generation SBCs with a hydrogenated midblock of SEBS or styrene-ethylene/propylene-styrene (SEPS). They are intended for use where UV resistance, high service temperature, and processing stability are essential. These Kraton G polymers are used for a variety of medical packaging.

New developments in the polymers supplied by the company.

Kraton is an innovation-led growth organization. Identifying, assessing and understanding the needs of the medical markets and the customers we serve continue to be a primary driver for our business strategy. We are constantly working both up and down the medical market value chains to identify and create new performance features and benefits needed in our next generation products. Our capabilities allow for the ability to work with our various customers in the medical industry to provide
tailored polymer and compound structures targeting value-added and differentiated solutions. Many of our traditional Kraton G polymers and compounds are used across the medical market space as viable alternatives to PVC in a variety of medical applications. Kraton G ERS polymers represents an innovation line of materials that were created to provide improved purity and low extractable performance, while promoting enhanced durability, impact resistance, elasticity, flexibility, clarity and
compatibility characteristics in medical applications. As mentioned earlier, our Cariflex™ polyisoprene products were designed to replace natural rubber for molding medical products ranging from surgical gloves and tube connectors to IV bag and medical stoppers, balloon catheters, needle shields, dental dams and cohesive bandages. Available in both solid and latex forms, Cariflex products are manufactured using a Kratondeveloped advanced polymerization process that eliminates impurities.Cariflex products are easy to process with the same equipment and methods used for traditional natural rubber, i.e. dip molding (IRL), compression and injection molding as well as extrusion, among others. Like natural rubber, our polyisoprene products exhibit high tensile strength and tear resistance along with good elasticity and durability. Medical products formed from Cariflex latex materials have a soft feel, strength and reliable protection.

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