Diane Newman: Welcome. I’m Diane Newman. I’m a nurse practitioner and Adjunct Professor of Urology and Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania, and I’m Editor of the UroToday Pelvic Health Center.
Today I’m very happy to introduce my guest, Tessa Huang. She is from Mainland China. I recently met Tessa when I was teaching in China. There is interest in urology there, and we are educating urology nurses. Tessa has a company, Bever Medical, that produces, manufactures catheters that we use for intermittent catheterization of the bladder in patients who have urinary retention or incomplete bladder emptying, and other pelvic health problems.
So, welcome, Tessa. I would like you to start by giving us a little bit of information about your company and what you manufacture.
Tessa Huang: Thank you very much, Diane. Thank you very much for inviting me, and I’m very happy to be here. My name is Tessa Huang, and I’m from China. I am the sales director of my company. My company’s name is Hangzhou Bever Medical Devices Co., Ltd. Let’s just talk Bever Medical for short. Bever Medical was started in 2008 and is located in Hangzhou City.
Diane Newman: Where is Hangzhou City, for our viewers?
Tessa Huang: Okay. Hangzhou is a very beautiful city with natural scenery, and she has been always one of the most attractive tourist destinations in China, and it is very close to Shanghai, only two hours’ drive. For my company, Bever Medical, our main products are different types of sterile medical catheters and tubes, and among them, there are intermittent catheters, our most important products. We are working on intermittent catheters for more than 10 years, and we are able to provide almost all kinds of intermittent catheters in the market. And it includes an uncoated intermittent catheter, lubricating jelly for uncoated intermittent catheter-
Diane Newman: The patient uses the jelly to coat the catheter right before insertion. So, you have what we call uncoated catheters that we apply external lubrication. Right?
Tessa Huang: Yeah, correct. Yes. And then a hydrophilic coated catheter, and also another type, which is all-inclusive catheterization kit that combines the intermittent catheter and the urine bag together.
Diane Newman: Well, how many employees do you have? You have a manufacturing site as well and in your city?
Tessa Huang: Yeah. We have close to 200 workers.
Diane Newman: Oh, really?
Tessa Huang: Yeah, and we produce quite a large sum of catheters every year, and our products mainly export to European market and USA because we have a C certificate, FDA 510(k), and Chinese FDA certificate. So, our product is qualified to sell globally.
Diane Newman: Yeah. Well, one of the reasons why I asked Tessa to come is that when she showed me her catheter, I was very impressed with the material and, of course, the natural coating of the catheter. So, you seem to have really a good quality catheter that you’re producing.
Tessa Huang: Yeah. Yeah. We have been focusing on providing high quality but at the same time low-cost catheters to the market, because we understand that that is really needed for the market. When we talk about high quality and low cost, I would like to share one of our experiences in manufacturing the catheter, because actually, we are the manufacturer, but at the first beginning, when we started to manufacture the intermittent catheters, we feel that we only focused on setting up the production line, having a strict quality management system. Of course, they are very important to be a manufacturer, but from that point of view, we are just only a manufacturer because we feel that we knew a lot of the products, but we knew very little how the product is used.
Diane Newman: So, you really didn’t know that end user. You didn’t know the patient specifically, or maybe the physician or the nurse who would be recommending that product. Right?
Tessa Huang: Yeah. We don’t know what is their main point for the clinical requirements. Yeah. But, fortunately, that we realized this question in a very early time, so we did a lot to improve ourselves. We collect a lot of clinical information. That really gave us a broader eye, that how we should make our products good enough so we can understand how is the real requirement from the clinical field.
Diane Newman: Now, do you sell your catheters all over Mainland China? I mean, you must have a market there. Right? You found that there’s really a need within the population with neurogenic bladder and that? What are you finding out there with your customers?
Tessa Huang: It is during the time that we were exporting our projects to the European and USA market that we found that there is a very big difference from the Chinese market to European and USA market. We found that intermittent catheterization was really not widely used in China, and many patients who have the bladder retention and the neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction, those patients, they cannot receive the very in-time and correct guidance. So most of their patients, they missed a very appropriate time for the intermittent catheterization. That resulted that their bladder problem becomes more complicated and difficult to be solved.
That’s a very big, just effect on us. We feel that as a manufacturer we have the obligation and responsibility that we should supply good quality, but at the same time, a low-cost catheter to our market. We should protect the intermittent catheterization safety, but at the same time, we should help the patients to better control their cost on catheters because that’s really a burden for patients if they want to keep a long-term adherence to the intermittent catheterization.
Diane Newman: Sure and the cost does factor into how many catheters they use, of course. And then, we’re really into single-use now, and then we want to prevent some of the complications.
Tessa Huang: Yeah, yeah.
Diane Newman: Well, it sounds like … You know, I was very impressed with the growth in urology and the fact that you have very similar patients to what we see in the United States. So, I really was very delighted to meet you because I really thought that you’re very similar to the companies we have in the United States really producing quality products.
Tessa Huang: Yeah. We hope that we have very long-term experiences in the manufacturing of the catheter, and we also have quite a strong capability to design and develop some new technology on the catheter. So we hope that we can combine our experiences on the global market into our Chinese market to benefit more patients.
Diane Newman: Thank you so much.
Tessa Huang: You are very welcome.