A Medical Device Daily

The World Health Organization (WHO; Geneva) and its partners have rolled out what they call “the first-ever” International Medical Products Anti-counterfeiting Taskforce (IMPACT) on a global basis.

It said that at its first meeting in Bonn, Germany, IMPACT will release the most recent estimates of the number of counterfeit products currently circulating in world markets, launch pilot programs in three countries and present a tool to strengthen countries’ legislative capacity to deal with medical counterfeiting.

IMPACT, it said, will develop five actions embracing the different national and international sectors related to counterfeiting. They are: legislative and regulatory infrastructure; regulatory implementation; enforcement; technology; and risk communication.

“Without changes and improvements in those key areas, we will not succeed in the fight against counterfeits,” said Dr. Howard Zucker, assistant director-general for Health Technology and Pharmaceuticals at WHO. He said that the need is for a “collaborative, cross-cutting approach involving medicine regulatory authorities, health professionals, enforcement officials, law-makers and industry.”

WHO says that counterfeit products, both devices and medicines, “are increasing as counterfeiters’ methods become more sophisticated, infiltrating official channels of distribution as well as using illegal web sites to sell their wares.” It said the concerns are greatest in countries with weak regulatory controls. “These are often the countries with the highest burden of disease, the poorest populations and the greatest need for reliable medicines.”

IMPACT was proposed by WHO at a meeting in Rome in February and its member states and major stakeholders welcomed the plan. It said the taskforce was created “in record time” and is set to begin its work.

The taskforce is made up of WHO Member States and more than 20 other major stakeholders, including Interpol , the World Customs Associations, patients’ and medical organizations, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations .

SunTech opens Hong Kong office

SunTech Medical (Research Triangle Park, North Carolina), a developer of motion-tolerant, non-invasive blood pressure monitoring technology, has opened a new sales and service office in the Bank of China Tower, Hong Kong.

Anthony Nixon, director of Asia/Pacific Sales, has relocated from the company’s office in Oxford, UK, to the Hong Kong branch.

Nixon said the company’s presence in Hong Kong “will enhance our ability to provide service and support to customers throughout East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent.”

Don Wildmon, vice president of international sales, said, “Our dedication to international markets together with Anthony’s international experience creates a great synergy for success in the Hong Kong office.”

SunTech offers products for 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, cardiac stress BP monitoring, customizable OEM BP modules and blood pressure cuffs. SunTech is a subsidiary of SunTech Medical Group (Oxford, UK), a holding company focused on medical diagnostics.

1st da Vinci system sold in China

Chindex International (Bethesada, Maryland) an American provider of Western healthcare products and services in the People’s Republic of China, reported the first mainland China sale of a da Vinci Surgical System, manufactured by Intuitive Surgical (Sunnyvale, California). The People’s Liberation Army (PLA)301 General Hospital (Beijing), a multi-disciplinary surgical center, purchased the system.

Roberta Lipson, president/CEO of Chindex, said the sale will give Chinese surgeons exposure to “ground-breaking technology that has become the global gold standard in minimally invasive surgery.” The installation “will provide unprecedented surgeon dexterity and control, enhance the level of patient care and serve as a national focal point to drive interest and demand for robotic surgery throughout China.”

Chindex provides healthcare services through the operations of its United Family Hospitals and Clinics , a network of hospitals and affiliated ambulatory clinics in China.

Cord Blood America now in Greek market

Cord Blood America (Los Angeles), the umbilical cord blood stem cell preservation company, reported beginning umbilical cord blood banking in Greece in conjunction with a.bourkas Co. United (Athens).

“This is our first venture in the international stem cell market, and we are confident the global distribution model we will develop in Greece will prove useful elsewhere in the world,” said Matthew Schissler, CEO of Cord Blood America. “We hope to draw conclusions from this that will lead to further international business development.”

“Family is among the highest social values, especially in Greece, and being able to offer this service to Greek families will ... prove to be enormously popular,” said Andreas Bourkas, director and manager of a.bourkas.

Cord Blood America recently purchased the operating entity and assets of CorCell, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) (Medical Device Daily, Oct. 18, 2006). It collects umbilical cord blood stem cells from hospitals in all states and internationally, saying this makes Cord the fourth largest of 26 family cord blood stem cell banks in the U.S.

a.bourkas distributes specialty pharmaceuticals in Greece, including a DNA paternity test, forensic tests, serological tests and DNA banking.

Savi wins Chinese RFID okay

Savi Technology (Sunnyvale, California), a provider of RFID-based supply chain solutions, received approval this week from the China State Radio Regulation Committee (SRRC) to use its family of active radio frequency identification (RFID) products throughout China. Savi’s tags and readers approved by SRRC, a division of the China Ministry of Information Industry, are compatible with the ISO 18000-7 standard for active RFID products operating at the 433.92 MHz radio frequency band.

These product approvals in China, combined with similar prior approvals in North America, South America, Europe and Pacific Rim markets such as Australia, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong, “clearly show the solid support for the 433 MHz frequency as the worldwide choice for active RFID,” Savi said.

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