LEWISBERRY, Pa., April 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Unilife Corporation, a leading developer of safety medical devices, today announced its entry into the Indian market to help support efforts by the Central Government of India and international agencies to institute the mandatory use of safety syringes within local healthcare facilities.
Dr. Gerald Verollet, Vice-President of Scientific and International Affairs, has relocated to India to co-ordinate discussions between Unilife and government agencies, healthcare facilities and pharmaceutical companies regarding the use of Unilife's proprietary range of safety syringes. Prior to joining Unilife in 2003, Dr. Verollet was the head of Medical Devices at the World Health Organization (WHO), playing a key role in the development and adoption of international standards for Auto-Disable (AD) syringes that incorporate safety features to automatically prevent the reuse and sharing of syringes.
Unilife has also appointed Clinicare, a Mumbai-based national leader in the supply of innovative safety medical devices to Indian healthcare facilities and pharmaceutical companies, as its exclusive local partner. In addition to supporting Unilife's business development activities within India, Clinicare will also act as the Company's authorized national representative to secure the registration of its Unitract™ 1mL syringes with local regulatory authorities.
India is one of the largest and fastest growing markets for medical devices and pharmaceutical products, with many world-class healthcare facilities now established across the country. Last year, the Central Government of India enacted legislation requiring all affiliated hospitals within the country to use only AD syringes. The adoption of laws mandating the use of single use syringes reflects estimates by WHO that between one half to two-thirds of the four billion injections administered in India each year are unsafe. Up to one-third of these unsafe injections are estimated to carry the risk of transmitting blood-borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C.
Mr. Alan Shortall, CEO of Unilife, stated, "Unilife is an emerging global leader for innovative safety medical devices that is committed to enhancing and saving lives worldwide. While much of our focus remains on North America and European markets, our entry into India at this time represents a smart strategic move. India is one of the world's fastest growing healthcare markets, with a large number of excellent hospitals and established pharmaceutical companies."
Dr. Verollet stated, "The mandatory use of AD syringes within India is a positive move that will help to improve injection safety standards across the country. However healthcare workers still remain at significant risk of infection from needlestick injuries from the AD syringes currently available in India. These AD syringes are not able to protect healthcare workers from needlestick injuries alone, because the needle still remains exposed after use.
"With a recent report finding that up to 80% of healthcare workers in New Delhi hospitals had incurred a needlestick injury in the last year, it is clear that Indian healthcare workers remain at significant risk. As such, we believe Unilife has a significant opportunity to introduce its Unitract™ Syringe with its unique automatic and controlled needle retraction features into a market that can benefit greatly from a health and humanitarian standpoint. I believe Unilife's range of safety syringes, which go beyond a simple AD feature, can offer the most effective solution to global unsafe injection practices. By working with Indian government departments, pharmaceutical companies and healthcare facilities, we hope to begin to play a role in the provision of the highest possible injection safety standards to Indian healthcare workers," concluded Dr. Verollet.
The Unitract™ range of prefilled and clinical use syringes is the only known technology that combines the key feature of passive (automatic) and operator-controlled needle retraction with an independent AD feature. Operators are able to control the speed of automatic needle retraction directly from the body into the barrel of the syringe, where the needle is automatically locked, to virtually eliminate the risk of infection via potential transmission modes such as needlestick injuries, aerosol and reuse.
Mr Jagdeep Shah, Director of Clinicare, stated, "We see an excellent opportunity in India for introducing the Unitract™ range of 1mL safety syringes for use within local healthcare facilities. Indian healthcare workers remain at significant risk of exposure to bloodborne pathogens due to needlestick injuries. This is a grave national concern that needs better management. Given the high standards of many Indian healthcare facilities and the desire for local pharmaceutical companies to gain a competitive advantage, I believe Unilife is well positioned to build quality relationships with local government and industry leaders."
About Unilife Corporation
Unilife Corporation is a U.S.-based medical device company focused on the design, development, manufacture and supply of a proprietary range of retractable syringes. Primary target customers for Unilife products include pharmaceutical manufacturers, suppliers of medical equipment to healthcare facilities and patients who self-administer prescription medication. These patent-protected syringes incorporate automatic and fully-integrated safety features which are designed to protect those at risk of needlestick injuries and unsafe injection practices. Unilife is ISO 13485 certified and has FDA-registered medical device manufacturing facilities in Pennsylvania.
This press release contains forward-looking statements. All statements that address operating performance, events or developments that we expect or anticipate will occur in the future are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on management's beliefs and assumptions and on information currently available to our management. Our management believes that these forward-looking statements are reasonable as and when made. However, you should not place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements because such statements speak only as of the date when made. We do not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law. In addition, forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, events and developments to differ materially from our historical experience and our present expectations or projections. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those described in "Item 1A. Risk Factors" and elsewhere in our registration statement on Form 10 and those described from time to time in other reports which we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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