Braun will remain
a supplier for Curlin
Clinicians use the company's ambulatory pumps to preset doses for patient self-administration. The devices deliver therapies that include intravenous (IV) fluids, pain management, anesthetic, nutrition, and antibiotics.
“We've never engineered an ambulatory pump that's geared for use in patients who are mobile,” says Eric Melanson, director of marketing of infusion systems at B. Braun. “With Curlin's design, we sell a healthy amount of that volume to the home infusion-therapy market.”
The initial three-year agreement brought both companies strong market share growth. “The market seems to appreciate the product, because it has a good reputation for reliability and a very low failure rate,” says Melanson. “Some companies haven't improved their product or changed their approach to the delivery of narcotics, for example. This year we saw one of our main competitors withdraw an ambulatory product from the market, and that obviously created an opportunity.”
Melanson added that the pump is easy to use. Its single-board design is housed in a machined aluminum cage. “We believe that [design] confers excellent long-term benefits in terms of how it's used in places like home infusion, where it goes into patients' homes and could be dropped.”
The contract extension will also help the companies jointly develop new products for hospital and alternate-care areas. “Sometimes a distribution agreement gets a bad rap, but in reality, we're experts at sales, marketing, and clinical support, so we can dedicate our resources to do that,” says Melanson. “Curlin can focus on improving the product, supporting it from a regulatory standpoint, and optimizing the manufacturing and quality. It's a way for both of us to participate in the market to do what we do best.”
The companies increased their field staff and sales force in North America to serve major hospitals, group purchasing organizations, and alternate-care home infusion customers. In response, Curlin also expanded its production capacity for pumps, IV administration sets, and accessories. This expansion will help them meet the higher demand for innovative wireless technology, data monitoring, and guideline software.