Medical tourists get Afghan medicine
A HARTLEPOOL company which supplies blood clotting agents to the battlefields of Afghanistan, has opened up a lucrative new trade route, keeping medical tourists safe in Asia.
Hart Biologicals, which this month moved into the new Rivergreen Business Centre in the town’s Green Meadows development, recently returned from a trade mission organised by UKTI with a fistful of inquiries from suppliers to private hospitals in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
MD Alby Pattison who founded the company in 2002 with help from UK Steel Enterprise, said the first contract in Thailand could gross £100,000 to £200,000 over the next three years with more to follow from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.
“In Singapore and Thailand there’s a lot of tourist medicine. People go out to have a holiday, get their nose fixed in a posh hospital and they will use the most up to date technology,” said Mr Pattison.
He said Hart, which specialises in developing coagulants and sophisticated blood diagnostic equipment, allowed Asian hospitals to treat patients quicker and for less than they could be treated in the UK.
The tide of tourists seeking elective treatment in foreign hospitals led Tees Valley GP Dilip Acquilla, to set up his own company operating in the overseas tourism market last year.
The trade then was estimated to be worth £886m with India - the top destination for Brits - expected to make £1.1bn out of medical tourists by 2011.
Hart, which has already had success in the manufacture of blood coagulants for administration by GPs in community practices is increasingly moving into supplying products for the surgical management of bleeding patients.
To date, the firm’s biggest customer has been an American client which has forecast to double its $120,000 order for coagulants next year.
Mr Pattison said the company’s growth had prompted it to expand the R&D team at Hartlepool. It was also looking to take on a new specialist warehouse manager and admin assistant.
It also manages the UK sales team for German company TEM, which manufactures Hart’s diagnostic equipment. The company, which set up a UK subsidiary last year following a successful collaboration with Hart, runs three sales personnel out of the Hartlepool office.