Unilife, a developer of safety medical devices, has entered 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.

Reportedly, last year, the Central Government of India had 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 World Health Organisation (WHO) that between one half to two-thirds of the four billion injections administered in India each year are unsafe.

Gerald Verollet, vice-president of Scientific and International Affairs, has relocated to India to co-ordinate between Unilife and government agencies, healthcare facilities and pharmaceutical companies regarding the use of Unilife’s range of safety syringes.

Prior to joining Unilife in 2003, Dr Verollet was the head of medical devices at the 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 safety medical devices to Indian healthcare facilities and pharmaceutical companies, as its local partner. In addition to supporting Unilife’s business development activities within India, Clinicare will also act as the authorized national representative to secure the registration of its Unitract 1ml syringes with local regulatory authorities.

The Unitract range of prefilled and clinical use syringes is the 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.

Alan Shortall, CEO of Unilife, said: “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 growing healthcare markets, with a large number of hospitals and established pharmaceutical companies.”

Mr Jagdeep Shah, director of Clinicare, said: “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.”