Diabetes is a thorny problem in China and local governments are leveraging the help of multinationals keen to take advantage of the business opportunity to improve access to novel technologies.
Medtronic announced Monday, during the 34th annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, that it is partnering with the Chengdu municipal government to manufacture and sell advanced diabetes therapies in the the region. The agreement requires Medtronic to invest in manufacturing plant that will produce the next generation sensor augmented pump system equipped with the company's SmartGuard technology. Through this technology, the pump can automatically suspend insulin delivery when glucose levels are predicted to approach a low limit. It can also automatically resume insulin delivery once those glucose levels recover.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, the Asian nation has overtaken United States in terms of diabetes prevalence and 114 million people in China have diabetes, which amounts to a third of the world's diabetic population.
In partnering with the local government in Chengdu, the Irish medtech company is also committing to providing people in the broader Sichuan province to access this technology that will be produced locally with the software being displayed in Chinese.
The announcement marks the second time Medtronic will build a manufacturing plant in Chengdu in the past 18 months. In August 2014, Medtronic announced a plan to establish its factory globally that would manufacture portable hemodialysis equipment.
"By manufacturing both advanced insulin pumps and hemodialysis products in Chengdu, we will benefit from the expertise of this global medical technology hub, while expanding access of our innovative therapies to China's growing population," said Alejandro Galindo, president of the Intensive Insulin Management Business in the Diabetes Group at Medtronic.
In partnering with the Chengdu municipal government and translating the display of the insulin pump in Chinese, it appears that Medtronic, knowingly or unknowingly heeding the advice of consulting firm McKinsey & Co., which in December published a report about how medtech companies can be successful in Asia-Pacific. The report, among other things, advised medtech companies to collaborate with local governments and have software instructions translated in local languages.
Arundhati Parmar is senior editor at MD+DI. Reach her at [email protected] and on Twitter @aparmarbb
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