Alejandro Von Mohr
Director General
Atramat
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View from the Top

Surgery, Suture Solutions Surpass Sector's Standards

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 11:09

Q: How is Atramat renewing its portfolio and how do these products benefit patients?
A: 2019 is a very special year for Atramat as we are opening a new branch in our portfolio for anesthetics. We also have a new manufacturing plant in Mexico scheduled for the end of 2019. Our partners in Turkey have patented several designs and products that are backed by years of research, which reduce the risk of infection for a more tailored and technological approach to healthcare for all patients in North and South America. This venture will also help us to provide a complete line of high-quality respiratory circuits aimed at providing the best life support for intensive care, whether at a hospital or at home.
Q: How would you describe the potential demand for breathing and anesthetic circuits?
A: According to our estimates, demand for this circuits is on the rise with more than 5 million surgeries in Mexico alone. Of those, 70 percent use general anesthesia, which requires a complete circuit for the patient. With these numbers, the forecast for sales and use of these circuits justify strong investment and development.
Q: How have changes in public tenders affected Atramat?
A: IMSS’ 2019 medical devices tender differed from previous iterations because sutures and many other device purchases were open to international companies. Moreover, the tender specified a maximum 6 percent price increase in Mexican pesos. While most of our products are manufactured in Mexico, our overhead surpassed 6 percent by far due to increases in the minimum wage, a more expensive dollar and higher costs for some of our raw materials due to higher oil prices. We made great efforts to lower our prices for these tenders and we did win them, so we are now facing the challenge of meeting the price requirements while maintaining the high quality of the products.
Q: How has the market received the company’s new suture with antibacterial coating?
A: This product was launched at the end of 2018 and received a great reception. Due to its characteristics, it is more expensive than some alternatives but those who have invested in it have seen positive results. Under appropriate asepsis conditions in surgery rooms, sutures of this type would not be necessary. But on occasion, procedures fail, especially in open, lengthy or extensive surgeries where the patient is subject to potential contaminants for a much longer period of time. In such circumstances, these sutures can help to reduce the possibility of an infection.
Q: How is Atramat innovating in the suture market and what are some of your recent contributions to the sector?
A: Technological advances for sutures go beyond new polymers with different absorption types. We are launching a barbed suture based on a monofilament structure with a series of barbs stemming from its center. These sutures have a needle at each end, which means closing the wound is done from the center outward. Once the suture has been applied, both ends are pulled, causing the barbs to hook into the tissue. This procedure halves the length of the surgery and promotes less scarring. These barbed sutures have applications in orthopedic and plastic surgeries.
Q: What infrastructure investments is Atramat planning to improve its operations in Mexico?
A: The first is to open our own sterilization plant for the 90 percent of our products that are sterilized using ethylene oxide. This project is part of our vertical integration strategy to strengthen our presence in Mexico and Latin America. By allowing us to control our sterilization process, this plant will increase our sterilization speed, thus optimizing our services and helping us to manufacture more products at lower production costs. This plant will be operational by the second half 2019.