Medical plastics industry set to expand rapidly over the next decade

The medical plastics industry is set to expand rapidly over the next decade taking up increasing proportions of GDP, as countries provide healthcare to an ageing population, access to medicine expands in developing regions and new technology is developed. Some of the issues in using polymers in medicine were debated at the latest AMI conference on Medical Grade Polymers, which took place September 14-15, 2010 in Philadelphia, USA. The quality controls in place in the medical device industry are stringent for reasons of patient safety. The whole industry relies on timely communication between suppliers and manufacturers. For example, under FDA regulations if there is a change in manufacturing or polymer supplier then the situation must be notified and re-evaluated. If the change is regarded as significant, then more testing may need to be undertaken, which can delay or halt production of a device. Most manufacturers require around a 2-year lead time for a change of polymer. Last year’s economic crisis left some companies in a difficult situation when suppliers entered Chapter 11 proceedings or stopped supplying their approved materials. The potential for polymers in the medical and pharmaceutical industries is endless as new materials come on stream. AMI is organizing two events in 2011 to discuss the new trends and offer networking opportunities.
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