Appropriate Sterile Barrier Systems

Oliver Healthcare

Dr. Aldin Velic, Director Market DevelopmentAsia Pacific

Oliver Healthcare has achieved several milestones in sectors of Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals and a credible position. We would like you to share some views and ideas about your company, plans, future and your outlook on the industry?

Oliver Healthcare is the only company in the world to offer two different coating technologies, this has put us in a strong position to help customers select application specific materials, that allows them to get their devices to market and ensure sterility during transportation and distribution.

Oliver Healthcare plans to continue to expand its capabilities to serve the medical devices, pharmaceutical, drug delivery and diagnostic markets. We recently acquired CleanCut Technologies, based in Anaheim, California – and have as a result expanded our product portfolio, with an even higher emphasis on design engineering.

Globally, the demand for effective and affordable healthcare continues to grow. In Asia-Pacific, we see access to healthcare improving, and the development of tighter and more stringent regulations driving the need for improved patient safety, more sophisticated device consumption, and thus more sophisticated supply chain partners, with expertise in global regulatory requirements and time tested material science and designs.

Oliver Healthcare is one of the healthcare companies that drives innovation in packaging. Would you like to brief us about the upcoming innovations in Sterile Barrier Systems (SBS) and other products?

Launching a new product in the market is a daunting task, and doing so using new materials is quite uncommon. The importance of using time tested materials is paramount, along with the material’s microbial barrier properties, and other variables such as puncture resistance, tear resistance and compatibility to various sterilisation modalities. The introduction of new materials is something most established companies will shy away from.

Oliver’s innovations in Sterile Barrier Systems (SBS) stemmed from utilising time-tested materials, while altering the way they are converted into finished products. Over the past forty years, we have developed various adhesive coatings that have allowed those materials to work in high-heat (autoclave) sterilisation modalities, seal to silicone-PETG, and developed systems that allow customers to minimise the handling of devices, while increasing the chances for customers to pass performance and integrity testing during their validations.

Most of our innovations come from design and development. We have technical engineers across the world that are subject matter experts in design, packaging, processes to chemistry – all working to design, and develop a system specific to a customer’s application and need.

How can solutions from Oliver Healthcare help the sector embrace patient centricity to remain relevant, profitable, and to deliver better health outcomes?

We work with thousands of medical device and pharmaceutical companies, with a focus on improving patient safety and health. In the drug-delivery segments, minimising particulate and endotoxins play a major in combating contamination and improving patient safety. Oliver recently conducted a study to compare particulate generation during the processing of these drugs, using Oliver’s specialty coatings, against our competitors’. The decrease in particulate generation when using our technology is one example in how we improve work to deliver better health outcomes. Today, majority of drug delivery systems utilise Oliver’s Xhale® coating when launching new drugs to market.

Oliver Healthcare Packaging has been providing appropriate SBS for a broad range of medical devices. Do you have any plans to expand SBS facilities and come up with a new product line for consumers?

In 2018, Oliver opened its newest facility in Suzhou, China. A state-of-the-art manufacturing site with ISO-7 cleanroom manufacturing. Over the past few years, we have invested millions in expanding and building out existing sites across the world. We are confident in our current capacity and customer growth – we are continually expanding existing sites, and ensuring customers demand and growth needs are met.

What are the drivers, restraints, and opportunities that are influencing the growth of the global SBS market? Can you brief about the challenges faced by the company in becoming a trusted leader in packaging expertise?

The main drivers of SBS market growth are the aging population, access to healthcare, growing middle-class in emerging economies and the need for better and safer products. Opportunities influencing this growth stem from customers learning about the implications of under-engineered materials and their impact on patient safety. To be a trusted leader in packaging, we place a high emphasis on technical support early on in the design and material selection phase, ensuring the appropriate technology is given to the appropriate healthcare application and need.

One of the biggest industry misconceptions in the packaging market is that HDPE cards are ‘dirty’. Can you please elaborate on this?

I believe this notion that HDPE cards are dirty, might be the case for non-healthcare products. In healthcare, many customers today are using paper inserts, which could be considered dirty in the sense of particulate generation. As customers transit from paper inserts, we have seen a large increase in demand for our CleanCut cards, which are made of HDPE. The novel design and use in healthcare have helped customers’ lower costs, while improving the performance of the SBS. Oliver’s CleanCut cards are manufactured in ISO-7 cleanrooms.

How can packaging help to combat counterfeiting and what has Oliver done to combat counterfeiting?

The engineering knowhow to make Oliver’s coated products is very complex, and thus making the likelihood of other companies making and counterfeiting our products highly unlikely. Customers who use Oliver’s coated materials, especially our Xhale® coatings are at a lower risk of being counterfeited, since these materials and coatings are not readily available in the market. Healthcare counterfeiting has been a growing problem, and though it is prevalent in the industry with lower-end SBS materials, for high-end products using our coated products, it seems to be an effective way of combating counterfeiting.

What do you think is the uniqueness of Oliver Healthcare that sets it apart from other companies?

The high emphasis on custom engineered design and materials really seem to set us apart from our competitors. We observe customers approaching us with their own SBS solutions, and normally with a high emphasis on cost savings. When we involve our technical services team, we improve our customers cost position, not by lowering the cost of the materials, but by improving the overall processing as a result of better suited material offerings.

What is the future of the medical devices industry and what according to you would be the shape of the health care packaging market in the future?

We are seeing some pockets of the medical device industry mature, where products are seeing lower growth. Pressure from governments around the world to improve cost in the healthcare segment is helping to drive innovative and new device launches that achieve better patient outcomes while lowering total procedure costs.

As mature products focus on cost-outs, we will see the packaging market affected through cost-out efforts. There are risks to healthcare companies pursuing such strategies, as cost-outs can sometimes lead to under-engineered materials for products that should have had more protection. The risk-reward in a market where patient safety is paramount can lead to large product recalls. We see the medical device industry continuing to grow in new device introductions, and the emphasis on viable SBS solutions that are appropriately engineered driving longer-term growth, as those products reach mass market adoption.

How much do you acknowledge science and strategy in Oliver's growth?

Oliver’s growth stems from our commitment to providing best in class products to our customers. We co-design and develop the appropriate solutions based on our customers needs. This strategy has paid off in numerous ways. We see a high customer retention rate, tied to high customer satisfaction. Our growth is thus a byproduct of our customers’ success in the market.

Overall what would you say are the most important things to consider when making effective healthcare packaging?

Some of the most important things to consider when considering packaging for healthcare are your own products sterilisation requirements and processing needs. As customers move to more sustainable business models, considerations for raw material used and their compatibility with more traditional sterilisation methods might have changed. These changes can affect new sterilisation considerations, and the materials selected. In addition to this, moving a product from smallscale to large-scale production also has implications on the healthcare packaging materials considered. Partnering with the right company early on in your development process allows you to develop a good plan, from start to mass production, with an emphasis on material performance, sterility and patient safety. That’s what we help healthcare companies accomplish.

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Author Bio

Dr. Aldin Velic

Dr. Velic is the Director of Market Development for Oliver Healthcare Packaging in the Asia Pacific region. He is responsible for helping healthcare companies launch their medical devices to local and international markets by providing the right sterile barrier systems to protect their device while helping them navigate the changing regulatory environment.