Solvay products at the heart of healthcare and wellbeing

In these unprecedented times, people around the globe have come to realize that there is nothing more precious than quality healthcare. And beyond the immediate challenges posed by COVID-19, global healthcare needs have never been higher, due in part to the rise in the number of patients suffering from chronic diseases.

As a result, healthcare trends point towards rising demand for solutions of all sorts and, as these medical needs combine with a general trend towards wellbeing and environmental consciousness, consumers unsurprisingly want these solutions to be harmless and non-toxic.

Solvay is a historic player in the field of healthcare solutions, and we have a lot to offer in this area, from polymers that successfully replace metal in medical devices to products that help increase the safety and effectiveness of drugs and treatments. Plus, in the context of promoting more environmentally responsible practices in healthcare, extending the lifetime of medical equipment is also something our products can contribute to.

So let’s have a look at five Solvay products that each in their own way contributes to improving your health and quality of life.

Implantable plastic

As the use of long-term medical implants for orthopedic, cardiovascular and dental applications grows more commonplace - due an aging global population - Solvay’s Zeniva® polyetheretherketone (PEEK) polymer is a successful alternative to metal to produce implantable devices.

Fully biocompatible (in other words, compatible with living tissue), with a texture closer to human bone than metal is, Zeniva® PEEK is also safer because it doesn’t cause the adverse reactions that can occur with metal implants. It even offers a few other advantages, such as much more easily legible x-rays. Who would have thought? This plastic used in the aerospace and automotive industries is contributing to making our bodies more resilient and bionic than ever!

Better medical instruments

Plastics are also replacing metal in another area of healthcare: the manufacturing of medical instruments and devices. From surgical accessories and endoscopic devices to anesthesiology equipment, hospital cases and trays, stainless steel and aluminum are giving way to the #1 material in this field: Radel® PPSU.

Solvay has produced this sulfone polymer for over three decades, and it offers significant advantages over metal, namely design flexibility, lightweighting and pigmentation. It allows instruments to be easier to use and better adapted to specific uses, which in turn facilitates innovative medical procedures such as non-invasive surgery.

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A polymer that improves hemodialysis

In a vastly different application of sulfone polymers to healthcare, our Udel® PSU is a crucial element in hemodialysis. This material is used to manufacture the very thin and very resistant membranes used in the machines that filter the blood of patients suffering from kidney failure.

This is a strong healthcare need, as kidney failure around the world still go largely untreated, specifically in Asia. Udel® PSU’s high degree of biocompatibility means reduced risks of adverse effects for the patients being treated, while its continually improved performances help the treatments become more and more efficient.

Safe blood filtering

Speaking of hemodialysis, there is another product at the heart of the process and that is a Solvay specialty: pharmaceutical grade sodium bicarbonate.

This well-known, completely harmless element is used as one of the concentrates that enter the blood filtration process. Solvay is a historical producer of Bicar® Pharma, the healthcare-certified version of good old sodium bicarbonate, a product so safe and common it’s actually naturally present in our blood to begin with!

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Efficient protection for drugs

Medical treatments need to rely on safe products in order to be efficient, but these products need to be protected from the outside world in order to remain efficient.

That’s the mission of protective coatings for pharmaceutical drugs. Diofan® PVDC is one such protective coating – in fact, it’s protection is so effective it’s an ultra-barrier polymer, shielding the active molecules contained in medicines from potentially harmful oxygen and moisture. Applied on the plastic blisters that pills are packaged in, it guarantees the efficacy of the drug, effectively saving lives.

In healthcare even more than in other domains, the high performance chemical solutions we focus on contribute to helping people live better and longer lives.