A Medical Device Daily

Zoll Medical (Chelmsford, Massachusetts), a maker of resuscitation devices and related software solutions, said that the Ministry of Health for the Province of Quebec has awarded the company a contract valued in excess of $12 million to equip all ambulances in Canada's largest geographical province with the Zoll E Series defibrillator.

This order represents the first time that Quebec province will standardize its entire system to one model of defibrillator.

About 700 E Series defibrillators, along with CPR stat-padz, will be purchased under the terms of the contract, which marks the largest agreement to date ever received by Zoll in Canada. The transition to Zoll will be made region by region, 16 regions in total, with the first order already having been placed by Urgences-Santé, the EMS provider for the city of Montreal.

The Ministry of Health shares responsibilities with 16 regional authorities that are responsible for the organization of services within their region.

Zoll said that by standardizing on the Zoll E Series, the province's medical directors "will now be able to use and compare simila patient data."

It said that during the clinical evaluation, the E Series "scored the highest in the areas of data review and transmission," and "Real CPR Help feedback technology and See-Thru CPR were also cited as positive features for the delivery of high-quality CPR and reducing interruptions, respectively."

The U.S. firm said the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services "wanted to standardize its resuscitation technologies by offering advanced, high-performance equipment." It said the level of care that will be offered will be compatible with the American Heart Association (Dallas) and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada's guidelines, which place "significant emphasis" on CPR.

The Zoll E Series is designed to meet the conditions that professional rescuers face every day, the company said. The E Series offers multiple data transmission options to a variety of destinations, including transmission of 12-lead ECGs to hospitals, which international guidelines now recommend for out-of-hospital use to help reduce time to perfusion in S-T segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients.

Zoll said Real CPR Help in all of its devices "instantly provides first responders and advanced paramedics with technology to see how well they are performing the rate and depth of CPR chest compressions [and] See-Thru CPR helps them minimize interruptions in CPR that affect resuscitation success."

Canada okays Cepheid test

In other Canadian med-tech news, Cepheid (Sunnyvale, California) said Health Canada has issued a medical device license for the company's Xpert MRSA/SA Blood Culture (BC) test for the rapid detection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Staphylococcus aureus (SA) in blood culture bottles showing gram-positive cocci.

The company said that, with results reporting in less than one hour, the Xpert MRSA/SA BC test "was designed to empower physicians with a new tool to aid in selecting the most effective antibiotic therapy to improve patient management and outcomes."

Rob Koska, Cepheid's senior VP of worldwide commercial operations, said, "Xpert MRSA/SA BC results enable physicians to initiate targeted therapy in septic patients far sooner than current culture-based methods an important advancement in the timely management of potentially life-threatening infections."

He added, "With the addition of [this] ... test, Canadian institutions are now armed with another tool in the armamentarium for the rapid detection of MRSA and SA and overall management of infections."

Xpert MRSA/SA BC processes positive blood culture specimens to determine if a patient's blood is infected with MRSA or SA, frequent causes of sepsis in hospitalized patients. "This can enable physicians to quickly de-escalate from broad-spectrum antibiotic treatment to a more effective targeted therapy, thus reducing risk of resistance and improving patient outcomes," Cepheid said.

Typically, physicians will order a set of blood culture bottles drawn from patients presenting with symptoms of systemic infections. Currently, those additional tests most notably to determine if the organism is methicillin-resistant or methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus are done via slower culture testing methods.

According to a recent six-year Queens University study, published in the December 2008 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, more than 250,000 Canadian patients experience infected surgical wounds, blood infections, and antibiotic resistant organisms while in the hospital each year. The study also states that, since 1999, rates of MRSA have more than doubled from 2 to 5.2 per 1,000 hospital admissions across Canada.

Increased Chilean presence for Sigma-Aldrich

Sigma-Aldrich (St. Louis) has expanded its presence in Chile to directly serve research and manufacturing customers throughout the country. The company said it has acquired Sigal Ltda (Santiago), its primary distributor in Chile, and established Sigma-Aldrich Quimica Ltda to provide a foundation for future growth in the country.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Building on our strong customer base in Chile and throughout Latin America is a long-term strategy for Sigma-Aldrich," said Eric Green, vice president of international sales and operations. "We experienced 20% sales growth in Latin America in 2008 alone, and we believe our expanded presence in Chile, which will integrate sales, marketing and distribution, provides a solid base for consistent growth in the years to come."

The expansion in Chile is part of the company's strategic plan to accelerate growth in Canada, Asia Pacific and Latin America to 25% of corporate sales by 2010. As part of that strategy, Sigma-Aldrich established a representative office in Vietnam last October to serve the country's expanding research and manufacturing sectors.

Sigal Ltda was established in 1997 to supply research products to customers in Chile. Its general manager, Patricia Bravo, will become Sigma-Aldrich's sales and marketing manager for Chile.

Sigma-Aldrich's chemical and biochemical products and kits are used in scientific research, including genomic and proteomic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical development and as components in pharmaceutical, diagnostic and other manufacturing.

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