Ankara steps up medical device development amid virus

Ankara steps up medical device development amid virus

ANKARA- Anadolu Agency
Ankara steps up medical device development amid virus

Seeking to stem the hundreds of millions of dollars it costs annually to buy medical devices from abroad, Turkey has stepped up its efforts to develop and produce these devices within the country instead.

Expenses for importing medical devices such as respirators or X-ray systems reached more than $8 billion in the last five years, while there has also been a gradual decline.

Over the last month Turkey also rushed to set up mass production of mechanical ventilators, devices critical for treating COVID-19 patients.

Defense and technology firms Baykar, Aselsan, and Arçelik supported medical technology firm BIOSYS' mechanical ventilator model rolling 100 units off the production line in just two weeks.

As part of the project, 5,000 units will be produced by the end of May. The price is around $15,000-$20,000 but Turkish-made units will cost less than half of that.

With severe shortness of breath a hallmark of the virus, the pandemic has raised the need for medical ventilators, resulting in a fresh impetus for defense, technology and automotive companies across the globe to research and manufacture the devices.

Meanwhile, Turkish defense giant Aselsan is focused on medical imaging devices, including magnetic resonance (MR) and X-ray machines.  It developed a mobile X-ray system and focused on mass production,
according to information provided by Turkey's Defense Industries Presidency.

The system, which can be portable, is expected to be ready in one-and-a-half years, the presidency noted.

As part of its efforts, Aselsan produced several parts of the X-ray system domestically, such as the generator, collimator, detector, and cables.

The device was also designed by the defense giant.  Aselsan also focused on producing other medical equipment such as MR machines.