Futuristic “smart bandages” can repair your body

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Bandage technology has gradually been revolutionised in the 100 years since Band-Aids were first introduced. Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Harvard Medical School and MIT are now ready to introduce the next century of wound care with the “smart bandage”.

The smart bandage has individual fibres that store medications which can be later implemented using a smartphone or another mobile device. The bandage is made up of electrically conductive fibres that are coated in a gel that can house medications. Antibiotics and painkillers can be used within the bandage, and possibly many other effective combinations that will enhance recovery.

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Individual fibres can then be activated via voltage from a connected micro-controller no larger than a post stamp using a connected mobile device. Ali Tamayol, Assistant Professor of Mechanical & Materials Engineering at Nebraska, explained: “This is the first bandage that is capable of dose-dependent drug release, you can release multiple drugs with different release profiles.”

This is an exciting platform that can potentially be applied to many different areas of biomedical engineering and medicine. Not only could it be useful for dealing with battlefield injuries, it could also help in the treatment of chronic wounds, which are common in patients living with diabetes.

This is not the only “next gen” bandage in development. A team from Swansea University’s Institute of Life Science has created bandages laden with nano-scale sensors that can instantaneously transmit health information to medical professionals using 5G wireless data.

OTCs In Action Episode 9: Traditional Medicine minister appointed as MNC manufacturing multiplies

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OTCs are in Action in India. Indian prime minister and enthusiastic yoga practitioner, Narendra Modi, has appointed Shripad Yesso Naik to be the first minister of the Yoga & Traditional Medicines division of the Health Ministry. According to the Wall Street Journal India, this department has been concentrating on herbal and traditional remedies for 25 years, and will be supported with a 2015 budget of $144mn. Traditional medicines are used by 70-80% of the Indian population, and the Government’s focus on improving quality standards and expanding manufacturing will impact not only the domestic market, but exports as well.

Nicholas Hall & Company’s DB6 global database forecasts that the market for OTC medicines in India will grow by about 158% over the next 10 years to US$5.7bn, with a 10% CAGR. Currently, the OTC market remains ill-defined, with OTC basically a default status for products not classified as Rx, complicated by widespread sales of Rx drugs under the counter without a prescription. This is likely to change over the coming years, as health professionals, most recently the Indian Medical Association, support the creation of an OTC list in line with global standards.

Not surprisingly, multinational companies are garnering for position in India. In the past year, Nicholas Hall & Company’s OTC.Newsflash has reported the following:

– This month, J&J completed the acquisition of fruit-based electrolyte drink ORS-L from Jagdale Industries for US$122mn. The company also recently announced it was building a new $66mn manufacturing facility for personal hygiene and skin products in Telangana

– In September, Abbott opened a new plant in Gujarat, which will manufacture nutritional products specifically for the local market. The US-based MNC invested US$73mn in the facility, its third in India

– Earlier this year, GSK increased its stake in its pharmaceuticals subsidiary in India from 50.7% to 75% in a $1bn deal, following a voluntary Open Offer

This week OTCs in Action thanks Nicola Jay, editor of Nicholas Hall & Company’s OTC INSIGHT Asia-Pacific, for her expertise on the OTC market in India.