A few months ago I was at Medica in Düsseldorf, the world’s largest medical fair. As I wandered through the 14-some exhibition halls, it dawned upon me just how essential plastics are to modern healthcare. I did not see one stand without plastics in some form, whether it was packaging or the actual medical equipment exhibited.
But plastics are not just plastics, of course. PVC is the most used polymer for disposable plastics-based medical devices, providing for everything from blood bags over IV kits to catheters and hygienic mattress covers. This is no coincidence. PVC simply meets the rigorous requirements for modern medical devices at a low cost.
It is also no secret that the PVC material has been subject to much debate. As an industry, we welcome dialogue about the different topics around PVC in healthcare. In fact, PVCMed Alliance was formed in 2012 to facilitate such debates. The Alliance represents all parts of the value chain which manufactures PVC for healthcare applications. Our activities range from publication of information material over dialogue with medical device manufacturers and roundtable discussions with hospital purchasers to cooperation with authorities on the development on new plasticisers for PVC. The latter resulted in a report by the Danish EPA and Health and Medicines Authority on alternatives to classified phthalates and a subsequent international conference with participation from a wide range of stakeholders.