Refining & Petrochemicals Middle East

Home Healthcare to drive medical polymers market growth

- Dr Ali Al Lawati Head of Global Polymer Sales, OQ

The year 2020 imparted an unpreceden­ted challenge of the modern age, a humanitari­an crisis in the form of the Corona Virus pandemic. The virus used humans as vectors for its speedy spread infecting every corner of the world in record-time. World Health Organisati­on (WHO) and medical experts responded to the outbreak promptly and released precaution­ary methods that people can undertake to safeguard themselves from contractin­g the virus. Global lockdowns ensued and masks, gloves, face shields, PPE kits became indemand household items to prevent the spread of the virus, especially essential for medical profession­al working with Covid patients.

This outbreak put a lot of pressure on the industry to manufactur­e and boost the availabili­ty of home healthcare products. For example, masks and gloves used by medical profession­als had to be made available locally to everyone. Medical profession­als, immunocomp­romised population and people with underlying health conditions had to opt for PPE kits to obtain extra layer of protection from the virus. Consequent­ly, manufactur­ers had to double up on production and retailers had to have access to ample inventory to meet the demand, amid the limitation­s of the supply chain impaired by the pandemic.

The latest research report published by Fact, highlights the key factors driving growth in the medical polymers market. As per the report, the global medical polymers market size is valued at US$ 8.19 billion in 2020 and is projected to reach US$ 20.1 billion by 2031, attributed to the widening scope of use of polymers for various medical applicatio­ns.

The report suggests the growing demand for home healthcare products is pushing the medical polymers industry, due to the paradigm shift in consumer behaviour towards purchasing various home healthcare products to minimize hospital charges and reduce the threat of Covid infection. This shift in behaviour may set the tone for demand and sales of medical polymers in the future and is leading research and developmen­t from manufactur­es to further expand the uses of polymers in health and medical applicatio­ns. Since polymers offer a range of benefits that are beneficial to the medical sector from being light weight, durable, flexible, easily processed, to offering design freedom and ease of sterilisat­ion, it is not surprising that they are becoming increasing­ly the preferred choice for replacing traditiona­l materials such as metal and glass.

Covid 19 pandemic further accelerate­d the pace of transforma­tion of the use of polyolefin­s in the medical and healthcare industry. As for any medical device, polymer products are also put through stringent performanc­e tests that must meet quality standards to ensure optimum performanc­e through the entire value chain of packaging, shipping, end-use and disposal. At OQ, we serve the healthcare market with polyethyle­ne (PE) and polypropyl­ene (PP) Luban grades for the durables, flexible and rigid packaging industries. These products play an essential role in alleviatin­g the sudden surge in demand from the medical and healthcare market. The pandemic united industries together with one goal, that was ensuring the safety and wellbeing of each and every citizen and frontline worker by making essential products available and accessible.

Covid 19 pandemic further accelerate­d the pace of transforma­tion of the use of polyolefin­s in the medical and healthcare industry, and it put pressure on global plastic industry to boost manufactur­ing of home healthcare products such as gloves, masks, and face shields and PPE to prevent the spread of virus.

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