As demand for medical devices grows during the COVID-19 pandemic, Indonesian government has pushed the domestically produced medical equipment, ranging from test kits to ventilators, to boost the country’s battle against the pandemic. State-owned pharmaceutical firm, PT Indofarma, takes part to produce masks and personal protective equipment (PPE).
Besides, Indofarma also produces medical equipment for COVID-19 such as syringe, surgical suture, infusion, electro medical device, and also rapid test equipment. The company teams up with local universities to develop ventilator prototypes to help meet skyrocketing demand for the crucial medical equipment to treat coronavirus patients.
Indofarma’s Chief Executive Officer Arief Pramuhanto says the company is working together with University of Indonesia to mass-produce Covent-20, a low-cost pneumatic system-based local transport ventilators. The machines have cleared a production test for the Continuous Mandatory Ventilation (CMV) and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) modes of ventilation at the Health Facility Security Agency (BPFK).
The price for Covent-20, will be 30%-40% cheaper than regular ventilators currently in the market, which cost between Rp300 million and Rp500 million, as 70% of Covent-20 components are available in Indonesia.
“Actually the technology is not that complicated. We expect to produce between 300 and 400 units per month, starting in May,” says Arief.
After the first case of coronavirus outbreak was announced by the government in early March, Indofarma was mandated to produce a specific type of drug for handling COVID-19 patients, oseltamivir. This is known as one of the few medications believed to be effective in treating bird flu patients back in 2006.
“Somehow oseltamivir is claimed to be effective and recommended by Indonesian Society of Respirology to treat COVID-19 patient,” says Arief.
Since the end of April, the firm has also been building a new production facility to produce surgical masks.
“We expect the facility to produce 10 million to 12 million surgical masks a month,” he says.
During the pandemic, Arief sees that there is a potential increase in medical devices sales to 300% compared to the previous year. The company says it is continuing to innovate by developing a new product to be used for COVID-19 treatment facilities.