Wellspect Healthcare is a Swedish company that used to be affiliated with the massive multinational pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which was founded in 1999 through the merger of two companies, Astra AB and Zeneca Group. Astra AB operated Astra Tech, which focused on medical devices. The combined AstraZeneca sold off Astra Tech, which includes what would eventually become Wellspect Healthcare to Dentsply, an American dental equipment maker, in 2011. Astra Tech rebranded to Wellspect Healthcare in 2012. The current CEO of Dentsply was formerly the Medical Segment CEO of Cardinal Health, a massive durable medical equipment distributor.

Wellspect bills itself as a leading provider of life-changing continence care products and services, inspired by improving people’s lives, by providing independence and creating more time for the things that really matter. Building on over 30 years of life-improving performance and dependability, they are committed to making a difference now and for generations to come. Their website showcases a commitment to sustainability – and they specifically mention a move away from PVC towards POBE (polyolefin-based elastomer) as a catheter material as evidence of this. Wellspect is one of the few catheter manufacturers that makes entire products lines specifically geared towards women. The reason that most manufacturers don’t do this, we suspect, is because there are separate catheter reimbursement codes for male, coudé-tipped catheters, but none for products specifically for women. It’s really admirable that Wellspect does this.

Wellspect maintains a Science Blog and a US Blog, though the former hasn’t been updated since 2018 and the latter hasn’t been updated since 2019. Their website does feature a lot of educational materials about the bladder and bladder management for catheter users, including some videos that look like they were produced in the early 90s, which has its own charm. There is a User Portal on their website that promises to contain individually pertinent information – but this information is limited to current Wellspect catheter users and is geared towards reordering supplies. You have to call customer service to set up an account, so there’s more friction to sign-up than with most manufacturer-led programs.

FDA approval for Astra Tech/Wellspect products dates back to 1990, with the approval of the LoFric Cath Kit. Their flagship product remains the LoFric line of catheters, with the hydrophilic version first being introduced into the market in 2001. There haven’t been a ton of subsequent submissions to the FDA since then (6 over the last 19 years), which is fewer than most competitors – Coloplast filed 12 over the same period, Hollister filed 11. Wellspect did recently announce the release of a new product, the LoFric Elle. Per the clinicians on our team, this product is currently only available in Europe, but may be coming to the US soon!

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