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October 25, 2020

Pakistan’s first local cardiac stent manufacturing facility at NUST

Islamabad

 
October 25, 2020

Islamabad : After 11 years of individual and another three years of collective efforts, Dr Murtaza Najabat Ali and his team experienced an eureka moment.

The locally manufactured stents and catheters will be readily available in local hospitals at one-fourth of the price of its competitive imported. The price of imported bare metal and drug-eluting stents in the market ranges from Rs35,000 to Rs55,000, and Rs75,000 to Rs125,000, respectively.

Quality with cost-effectiveness was the major motivation which brought these products to the market, Dr Najabat Ali, is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) N-ovative Health Technologies (NHT) at NUST and the man behind the milestone achievement, says a press release.

NHT’s clinical team head Major General (r) Dr Azhar Kayani said that the local production of such medical equipment devices is the need of the hour, as it will benefit the country and its citizens in more than one way.

“The current statistics reveal that 40,000 stents are implanted each year, but the facility is available to economically-sound patients, which covers only 20 per cent of the market demand of stents in Pakistan.”

The foreign exchange import component for cardiovascular devices is Rs8.5 billion annually. The NHT production capacity is 15,000 units per annum which can cater to about 25 to 30 per cent of the diseased population in Pakistan.

The journey of locally manufactured stents witnessed many ups and downs in Pakistan due to the non-availability of infrastructure and financial resources.

“Whenever we felt discouraged, the motivation to do something for the needy people of this country was always there to encourage us and keep out morale high against all odds,” Dr Murtaza, another team member, said.

“To address their doubts, we hired a clinical team comprising the country’s renowned cardiologists in the supervision of Maj Gen (r) Dr Azhar Kayani, who is a renowned cardiologist, popular for establishing the state-of-the-art Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology (RIC). The team supervised our tests and trials both in Pakistan and in Germany.”

Speaking on the development, Heinz Schade GmbH-Germany’s Director Jessica Schade said that at the time of partnering with the NHT, her company was sceptical about the quality of the products and the capability of the NHT to produce complex life-saving medical devices in a country like Pakistan,

The email was forwarded to the Ministry of Science and Technology and other related research organisations such as the National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM).

“The then chairman of NESCOM Dr Samar Mubarakmand approached me and offered a facility on behalf of his organisation. In this way, the work on the project started,” Dr Ali recalled. “It was the first time in the history of Pakistan when a stent was manufactured at a local level. However, the project could not be transformed into a commercial venture due to legal restrictions.”

The locally produced stents were tested extensively in comparison to its international counterparts and be at par with clinical performance of the imported stents. The tests were carried out in different renowned centres of Germany and Poland.

“We have conducted multi-centric human trials of NHT-produced cardiac stents in collaboration with professor Khusro Niazi of the Heart and Vascular Center, United States, in the supervision of our clinical team head Maj Gen (r) Dr Azhar Kayani,” said Dr Murtaza. “The university trial results were promising. Clinical trials for the products have also been carried out in collaboration with esteemed cardiologists located in Atlanta, RIC Rawalpindi, and the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD), Karachi.”