Plastic Prefilled Syringes Help to Prevent Drug Mix-ups

Combining medical devices and pharmaceutical preparation technologies

Yet another Terumo product?the prefilled syringe?started out as an idea for solving a serious problem. The problem was finding a way to prevent administration of the wrong medicine after filling a syringe from ampules or vials to formulate an injection. Another problem was how to reduce the amount of labor required to prepare such injections.

The solution was the prefilled syringe, which is a syringe that is pre-loaded with the necessary drug or combination of drugs.

A product combing pharmaceuticals and syringes, that is to say a product that requires the kind of expertise Terumo has in both the medical device and pharmaceuticals preparation fields, would seem to be the company’s forte. Prefilled syringes were already on the market in countries other than Japan, but most of those were made of glass. Terumo set about developing a prefilled syringe that would combine the durability and safety of plastic with its ease of disposal.

If only we had been in time for the Great Hanshin Earthquake…

Prefilled Syringes 'VITAJECT' Prefilled Syringes "VITAJECT"

Terumo decided that the pharmaceutical preparations loaded into its first prefilled syringes include multivitamins, electrolytes, glucose, and other compounds used in infusions. Patients being given high calorie infusions require multivitamin supplements, and depending on the patient’s condition, electrolytes and glucose may also be necessary. When these preparations are available in prefilled syringes, they become easier to administer and are safer because it is difficult to mistake one for another.

But since it was the first time the company had attempted anything like this, there were many problems during the process from initial development to production. Even so, thanks to the zeal and tireless work of Terumo’s professionals, December 1999 saw the launch of a series of prefilled syringes that included a multivitamin to be used with high-calorie infusions called VITAJECT, and a supplementary electrolyte and glucose preparation called MEDIJECT in Japan.

Terumo’s associate was in the midst of developing the new line of prefilled syringes when the Great Hanshin Earthquake hit the city of Kobe in January 1995. Many hospitals could not administer injections because their glass ampules had been damaged, and this severely limited their ability to provide emergency medical care. When physicians who had experienced the Great Hanshin Earthquake finally saw one of Terumo’s prefilled plastic syringes, their message was unanimous, “We could have helped so many people if only we had had these syringes at the time of the disaster.”

Terumo has since released many different types of plastic prefilled syringes. The company is continuing to contribute to increased medical safety and improved emergency medical care when responding to disasters.


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