The Florida International Medical Expo (FIME) hosted its 32nd edition live, in-person, from June 21-23, 2023, connecting dealers, distributors, and manufacturers with buyers, procurement agents, and healthcare professionals from around the globe. The event brought together healthcare and medical industry professionals from 116 countries and gave an insight into medical industry updates and the newest in innovation and technology. We spoke to a few exhibitors during the show to learn more about their experience at FIME. Excerpts:
Cortis is an emerging medtech start-up from India that has a market presence already in 10 countries and is planning to access 40 countries over the next two years across the world. At the show, Cortis exhibited its advanced surgery and wound care products.
Raja AP, CEO of Cortis, said, “Our products are being used by emergency healthcare teams and surgeons. We specialise in products that are used in trauma and surgeries. The advanced wound care products are positioned to support professionals – ambulances to the emergency department to the operation theatre.”
Raja AP, CEO of Cortis
The CEO also shared that Latin America is significant for the company at the moment because Cortis has a strategy with more focus on Asia and Latin America.
He added: “We are in touch with over 10 prospective partners across Latin America, and our goal is to partner and enter 10 countries in Latin America. We are planning to have regional managers and marketing professionals in the region, as more products are under regulatory approval process across the region.”
Creating a niche
India’s MRK Healthcare was exhibiting at FIME for the first time and showcased their latest surgical gloves. The company exports to 80-plus countries and has received the 510 K certification for its gloves. It manufactures latex surgical gloves and specialises in speciality gloves such as orthopaedic microsurgery double pair gloves. “We want to create a niche in the market because you cannot have one glove which fits all, as different surgeons have different requirements,” said Gautam Dalal, VP-International Business, MRK Healthcare Pvt Ltd.
Gautam Dalal, VP-International Business, MRK Healthcare Pvt Ltd
He added: “We are currently in the process of putting up new production lines, which will be operational by the end of the year. So, that's why we thought that it's the right time to enter newer markets such as the US and Latin America, as we are already present in Europe, Asia and Africa. Being at FIME has been a great experience to understand how to enter the market.”
At the forefront of innovation
Healthium, one of the largest manufacturers of sutures in India and the world, was present at the show and focused on three categories – wound closure, arthroscopy and antibacterial range of products. Anish Bafna, Chief Executive Officer, Healthium, emphasised that the company is focused on the operation theatre and is working towards making the surgeon's life easy by giving them access to high-quality products.
He said: “At FIME, we highlighted all our products linked to wound closure. We are the largest manufacturer of suture needles by volume in the world, meaning that one in five surgeries uses our product.
“Additionally, we have created our range of arthroscopic implants and instruments over the last five years. Our initial market was India, but we have now started getting US FDA approvals for our products. By the end of the year, we expect US FDA and EU MDR registrations. We have about 64 patents filed for and granted in this line of business that we've created.”
Anish Bafna, Chief Executive Officer, Healthium
The third range showcased was the company’s antibacterial range of products. “What is unique is that we have created our wound management products, which are for post surgeries, diabetic foot ulcers, that we expect is going to play a huge role in the post-surgical recuperation of the patient,” Bafna added.
When asked about how important the Latin American market is for the company, he shared that Healthium has found a lot of positive responses for its products in the region, and the market appreciates innovation.
He concluded: “This was our second year at FIME. We received a fantastic response in the last edition, so this year, we have increased the size of our presence here and doubled the size of our booth. We have a team of over 12 who have been having exciting discussions with the visitors. We have been delighted with the responses we have received so far from the diverse customer base we are getting to connect with in this part of the world, thanks to FIME!”
Focus on patient safety
Sechrist, a world leader in hyperbaric and respiratory medicine, was present at the show to display its low profile patient transport stretcher.
Kudzai Seremwe from Sechrist Industries Inc. said: “A low profile stretcher is important because it can help limit the number of falls for patients, so it's easier for a person to get on and off. It is sturdy and can carry up to about 710 pounds. The stretcher has four levers, so regardless of the side the technician or the nurse is on, they can access it easily. Our R&D team is also currently working on other stretcher products.
Kudzai Seremwe with a colleague
“We met a lot of distributors, resellers and people that are genuinely interested in our product at FIME. The event allowed us to network and learn about what's new in the medical field. By just walking around, we could see the diversity around the venue. That experience was eye-opening because from a marketing perspective, we understood who we are communicating with and from a product point of view, we understood the needs of the people and what they actually want.”
Access to manufacturers
Liberty Med Supplies Private Limited exhibited its full range of gloves, including surgical, nitrile and industrial gloves. Manoj Zacharias, VP, Business Development at Liberty Management Group Ltd, shared: “We are the direct manufacturer of the gloves, which sets us apart. We ask anybody who wants to work with us to visit our manufacturing facility in Kerala, India.
Liberty Med Supplies Private Limited team
“The Latin American region is a critical market for us, particularly after the pandemic, and we work closely with our partners here to deliver products on time.”
Benadict Boby Sebastian, CEO, Liberty Med Supplies Pvt., added: “FIME is a must-visit show as it provides an opportunity for visitors to connect with the global healthcare community. It benefits those companies looking to introduce a new product or expand.”
Tapping new markets
Romsons International, a 70-year-old company from India, showcased its range of medical disposable products, covering anaesthesia, surgery, and hygiene, among others. The company also recently started its orthopaedic range, offering collars and lumbar support belts.
Saourabh Khanna, Director, Romsons International, said: “Romsons has 65 per cent of the domestic market share, and we export our products to more than 80 countries.
Saourabh Khanna, Director, Romsons International
“We have been a regular exhibitor at FIME. The Latin American market is important as we get good volumes from here. We exhibit at FIME to meet our existing customers and explore the possibility of tapping the markets where we are not selling currently.”
Spotlight on sports medicine
MJ Surgical presented its range of exclusive orthopaedic implant products at the show. The company specialises in sports medicines, spinal implants, interlocking nails and screws, among other products.
Nirav Balochiya, Director, MJ Surgical, said: “We are getting a good response for our sports medicine products in Latin America. We had a good experience at FIME and got the chance to meet customers from the region. We will soon be launching new products in the field of sports medicine.”
Nirav Balochiya, Director, MJ Surgical
Zooming in on R&D
Lakshmi Life Sciences works closely with the R&D of various Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), who send the company information about the product that needs to be developed.
G. Venkat Saravanan, Sr. General Manager, Business Unit Head, Lakshmi Life Sciences Private Limited, explained: “We then develop the prototypes and validate them. There are several stages of improvement in the design and resubmission of samples. The process goes along until the product gets commercialised. From end to end, we work with the OEM's R&D and then convert that into a product for a low-volume or serial production stage.
G. Venkat Saravanan, Sr. General Manager, Business Unit Head, Lakshmi Life Sciences Private Limited
When asked about the importance of the Latin American market for the company, Saravanan said: “A lot of innovations in the medical field come from the American continent. The government funding in the region gives us a lot of opportunity for a company like ours to invest in the technologies to support the developments and turn them around quickly. FIME was a good opportunity for us to interact and showcase our presence in the region.”
Meeting growing demand
Egypt-based Lewis L&P, one of the largest PPE producers in the Middle East and Africa, displayed several products of nonwoven medical clothing, ranging from gowns, coveralls, head caps, bedsheets, pillow sheets, to surgical masks and its line of gloves, syringes, needles, blood bags, urine bags, cannulas, etc.
Michael Naroz, Executive Director, Lewis L&P, said: “We export to many countries, and our turnover is nearly over US$15 million per year. We are growing and will continue to grow and are looking to expand to different countries in the Americas. The needs for medical supplies and consumables are always in demand in a populated region like Latin America and their needs of medical consumables. Therefore, we foresee strong potential in the region.
Michael Naroz, Executive Director, Lewis L&P
“This was our second year exhibiting at FIME, and we will continue participating. The event provides a good opportunity for us to do business and market our products along with other companies. This year, many visitors came to our stand to enquire about our products, which was very exciting.”
At the J.D. Honigberg International stand, visitors were able to get a closer look at the battery-operated TransMotion stretcher chair, which is a complete chair and stretcher at the same time. The chair can be used for various types of configurations, for example, eye surgery or general surgery. Its height can be adjusted according to what is comfortable for the physician taking care of the patient.
Mark Forcier, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, J.D. Honigberg International, Inc., shared: “We have been exhibiting at FIME for about 20 years. This year, it was a great experience as more and more people are coming back to live events. We saw many people from the Caribbean and Central America come to our stands. The event had a mix of existing distributors who came to see what was new and distributors who wanted to discover how to enter new markets.”
Mark Forcier, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, J.D. Honigberg International, Inc.
Ortotecsa put the spotlight on its range of FDA-approved rehabilitation products at the show. Eyad Al-Gawahmed, Commercial Director, Ortotecsa, shared that receiving the FDA certification has helped people consider the company’s product competitive to many American products.
Eyad Al-Gawahmed, Commercial Director, Ortotecsa
He said: “FIME is a great place for us to be as we can hear directly from customers about what they are looking for and what prices they are concerned about. This year, the demand was more than what I was expecting. I met people from countries such as Jamaica, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Guatemala. We even met with some distributors from markets we haven’t distributed before.”
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