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From pressure garments to artificial limbs

P.T. Jyothi Datta

NEW DELHI, Oct. 8

IT was a personal experience that prompted Delhi-based Technomed (India) Pvt Ltd to venture into `pressure garments' for burns victims. Almost 17 years later, the company has evolved to make external silicon prosthesis or artificial limbs for various deformities and is set to establish a manufacturing unit in Chennai.

Mr Deepak Sapra, Director, Technomed, told Business Line that the company had an exclusive distribution tie-up with Taiwan-based Tehlin for hi-tech artificial limbs. Besides utility features such as the artificial hand or leg, the company also specialises in making other parts of the body like ears, fingers etc. "Accidents may result in people losing a finger or a ear. They can have an artificial finger made of the same colour and the deformity can be masked,'' he said.

The products are made of light-weight carbon-fibre and are imported at a steep customs-tariff of 40 per cent, which is then passed on to the patient.

He said that 17 years ago, a personal tragedy in the family made him import a pressure garment for the burn victim. Subsequently, he started his own company and imported the Spandex fabrics, which were then fitted in India in accordance with the requirements of the victim.

Besides burn victims, pressure garments are said to help set right deep dermal wounds, like scars of scalpel cuts, for example. It is also used in orthopaedics and vascular problems. In the UK, there was an on-going debate on whether people on long-haul flights should be made to wear specialised stockings, for health reasons, he pointed out.

Mr Sapra has requirement forms (where the patient will fill in his measurements and requirements) for pressure garments placed at the burn wards of various hospitals across the country. Patients can also access the company through its Web site, www.technomed.net.

Priced at Rs 700 for a knee-length stocking or Rs 2,400 for a full-body garment, the product is economically priced in India. A full body garment in the US would be priced at $ 90.

Technomed has started exporting pressure garments to South East Asian markets due to the price-advantage that it offers. The company has 33 distribution centres and its initial manufacturing unit is in Delhi. With a sales turnover of Rs 1.5 crore, the company expects to grow at 20 per cent, thanks to increased awareness on the product, he said.

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