HUIFEN, CHEN. (2009). ‘Pasture Pharma Gets FDA Approval For Disposable Masks’, The Business Times, 19 Feb.
HOMEGROWN pharmaceutical products supplier Pasture Pharma has obtained US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for a pair of disposable mask; for use in a pandemic.
The company redesigned the shape and fit of conventional masks to come up with the new masks, which reduce exposure to airborne germs and viruses.
“One of the key problems with conventional masks is the inability to achieve a proper fit to the facial shape and contours of untrained adults,” said pasture Pharma CEO Lloyd Soong.
“Most laymen don’t know how to put it on properly. With our masks even if they are used in a random way, it has been shown that at least 50 per cent of people will be protected, compared with 10 – 20 per cent with conventional masks.”
The masks come in two models — Pasture A520G has a cup shape, while Pasture F550G can be folded flat.
Pasture Pharma has conducted clinical studies on about 600 patients through an institution that works with the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
According to the company. it is only the second manufacturer worldwide to receive FDA clearance for the use of such masks in a public health emergency.
The company spent “hundreds of thousands” of dollars on R&D. Mr Soong said. It was surprised to get the FDÄ green light so quickly. having filed the application only in Q4 last year.
Pasture Pharma has started marketing the masks in the US, where it has appointed Tulsa based Airborne Technology as its North American distributor. It will start to sell to Singapore and Taiwan in the first half of this year and is in talks with distributors for the Middle East, Thailand and China.
The masks are made in Taiwan, but if demand picks up. a second factory could be set up in Singapore. Mr Soong said.
The masks were designed over four years, in collaboration with Taiwanese health mask maker Champak Enterprise Co. The two partners are also working on an anti-microbial mask that could kill airborne germs and viruses on contact.
Quoting a 2008 report published by the US Institute of Medicine, Mr Soong said the US needs 5.3 billion masks to stockpile against pandemic influenza. but has only met 0.2 per cent of this requirement.