Patients with chronic nasal congestion in Saudi Arabia can receive full reimbursement for Chordate Medical’s K.O.S treatment, which was recently performed for the first time on a privately insured patient. In addition, Chordate Medical’s management has just returned from a business trip in Saudi Arabia where they visited several healthcare providers using K.O.S, as well as a big conference in Otolaryngology. BioStock contacted CEO Anders Weilandt to hear more about the business travel and progress in Saudi Arabia.
Chordate Medical has developed a neuromodulation treatment technology for chronic nasal congestion (rhinitis) and chronic migraine. The company’s treatment Kinetic Oscillation Stimulation (K.O.S) is marketed in the Nordic countries, Italy, Saudi Arabia and soon also in Israel.
Progress in Saudi Arabia since 2020
Saudi Arabia is one of the markets that Chordate Medical has selected to prove the market potential for the K.O.S. treatment to enable growth and attract buyers of the company.
In November 2020, a major step was taken in Saudi Arabia when Chordate Medical received a reimbursement code that allowed private healthcare providers to receive full reimbursement for K.O.S treatments on rhinitis. This means that patients with private health insurances do not have to bear the cost of the treatment, which may lead to more patients being treated by the K.O.S method.
Reimbursement at both private and public healthcare providers
Soon after, a clinical evaluation of Chordate Medical’s rhinitis treatment was initiated at three public hospitals in Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah, ordered by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health. All hospitals approved the evaluation in June 2021. After a typically long period of government administration, Chordate’s products are now expected to be listed in the two national treatment catalogues and will be fully eligible for reimbursement by general health insurance in Saudi Arabia.
Chordate Medical’s distributor is now authorised to offer the treatment to both private and public hospitals. According to data from Business Sweden, there are as many as 483 hospitals in Saudi Arabia, of which about 30 per cent are private hospitals.
The first privately insured patient has been treated
Recently, the company was able to announce that the first K.O.S treatment has been reimbursed by the private healthcare insurance company BUPA ARABIA, which marks a milestone for both Chordate Medical and its distribution partner:
»The result of this extensive project to establish sales on the private side and finally get the confirmation that the first treatment has been reimbursed, is a very important milestone for Chordate and for our hard-working distribution partner in Saudi Arabia. This is very satisfying« – Anders Weilandt, CEO of Chordate Medical
The CEO about the visit to Saudi Arabia
Chordate Medical’s CEO Anders Weilandt and Jan Hermansson, Clinical Research & Medical Director, visited Saudi Arabia for 9 days in December to provide knowledge and support to the company’s distribution partner Al Mothihel Trading.
In addition, they exhibited K.O.S. at the 26th Saudi Otorhinolaryngology (SORL) Society Conference held in Abha with about 500 participating doctors and surgeons within ENT (ear, nose and throat). BioStock contacted Anders Weilandt to hear more about the business trip to Saudi Arabia.
Anders, could you first give us an update on how many K.O.S systems are installed in Saudi Arabia and how many patients that have been treated so far?
– Seven systems have been installed at customers and these have been either sold or is currently being tested. To date, an estimated 150 patients have been prescribed K.O.S treatment in Saudi Arabia, and the average is 2-4 treatments per patient per year.
What feedback did you receive during your visits to healthcare providers using K.O.S as a rhinitis treatment?
– We have visited a dozen prominent private and public hospital clinics in Riyadh and Jeddah, which report very satisfactory results from a clear majority of patients treated with K.O.S.
How widespread is chronic rhinitis is in Saudi Arabia?
– The doctors we have met tell us that the prevalence of chronic rhinitis is high in the country due to airpollution in major cities, high incidence of mites and mold spores, combined with constant alternation betweenhigh outdoor temperatures and cold indoor environments. Chronic rhinitis is considered a major health problem that has been given a lot of attention. The overall picture is that treatment should be given 2-3 times more often than in Northern Europe due to the low air quality. Excessively long-term use of nasal spray is also very common and is seen as a very urgent problem to overcome, even here the K.O.S treatment is seen as a valuable therapeutic tool.
»Chronic rhinitis is considered a major health problem that has been given a lot of attention«
How was the interest in Chordate Medical’s rhinitis treatment at the SORL Conference?
– The interest in K.O.S. from participating doctors at the ENT Congress was significantly high. Our distributor reaches customers and management of the reimbursement and purchasing systems with high business acumen. It was clear that an impressive network of contacts has been established with very important doctors and decision-makers.
What insights and experiences did you gain during your visit to Saudi Arabia?
– The most important thing is that careful and professional sales work in the field is absolutely crucial for a successful introduction of new products. In addition, tactical and sustained work with government permits and reimbursement systems is needed. It is a challenge to get such things in place when working through a local distributor, and it is almost always completely individual-dependent for actors of our size. I believe that our solution in Saudi Arabia will be successful.
What are the prospects for K.O.S. in Saudi Arabia in 2022?
– With several private insurance codes in place and our products soon introduced into the two public national procurement systems, we look forward to an interesting 2022. Since both private and public healthcare providers can soon receive full reimbursement for K.O.S treatments and that our products can be purchased through the national web-based purchase catalogues, we envisage that the number of installed systems will increase significantly.
»With several private insurance codes in place and our products soon introduced into the two public national procurement systems, we look forward to an interesting 2022.«
What will the sales activities look like in Saudi Arabia and other markets in 2022?
– We are focused on supporting our distributors in their efforts to introduce our products in every conceivable way. How and what we do is adapted for each market, as the conditions and challenges differ radically from country to country. The trip to Saudi Arabia, with a large number of customer visits and a specialist conference, is a good example on where we have a good effect on our efforts. We both had the opportunity to work together with the distributor’s sales representatives and got the opportunity to listen to end users – and possibly give weight to what Chordate and our products stand for.The content of BioStock’s news and analyses is independent but the work of BioStock is to a certain degree financed by life science companies. The above article concerns a company from which BioStock has received financing.