NEW YORK - Even though President Clinton's health-care reform program is dead, the trend toward controlling costs in the medical industry, now driven by private industry, is accelerating. The health-care business is a ``fundamentally and radically different'' industry than it was even two years ago and makers of plastic medical devices can succeed by offering low-cost, efficiently designed products that meet requirements for safe performance, said Jeff Denton, market development manager for the Medical Group of Dow Plastics.
For example, in an effort to cut costs, many surgeries that once required hospital stays are now done on an outpatient basis. This shift in treatment procedures creates the need for new products, Denton said at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in New York, held June 6-8.
``Continuing trends toward minimally invasive surgeries, outpatient medical procedures and home health-care treatments are calling forth a new generation of medical devices and equipment,'' according to Denton.
Quoting data from Freedonia Group, he said plastics consumption in the medical industry totaled 2.6 billion pounds in 1993 and is expected to reach 3.37 billion pounds by 2003, an increase of 30 percent.
A Dow study also found that its Aim styrenic resin is capable of withstanding gamma radiation, a sterilization procedure. The resin maker describes the Aim resin as a formulation that combines the toughness and gloss of ABS, with the ``material-handling advantages'' of high-impact polystyrene, but at a lower cost than ABS.
Dow, a unit of Dow Chemical Co. of Midland, Mich., said Aim showed no significant changes in physical properties after being treated with gamma radiation.