News: Mackay brings breast cancer tests to rural RP villages

[submitted to BusinessMirror Aug 10 for Aug 11, 2010]

Written by: Dennis D. Estopace, Reporter /
[535 words / 2,775 characters (spaces not counted)/ 3,290 characters
(spaces counted)]
[pack reporting-based / document-based]

NEW Philippine investor Mackay Holdings Inc. said it plans to bring
breast cancer detection to the masses by marketing its patented
electro-senagram (ESG) machine.

Company chair and founder James Mackay told reporters on Tuesday that
their patented technology competes against the mammogram machines
installed in hospitals that are either far from provinces or charge
fees ruralfolks can't afford.

"Where I come from [Scotland], the hospitals are 200 miles from our
town. You can imagine the distance it takes for health to reach common

Mackay claims that their machine is not only affordable at less than
under US$30,000 (approximately P1,410,000) each, it is also portable
and non-evasive.

"When you get a mammogram, you get radiation, so if it's not cancer,
it might be afterwards. This one has no radiation, no pain, requires
no hospital," that is even few and far between in the Philippines.

Mackay said that the first buyer they had is the Quezon City
government under then-Mayor Feliciano Belmonte who offered free breast
detection to employees using the ESG machine.

However, Mackay said the company is meeting a "lot of resistance" from
hospitals in the Philippines in the market for their equipment.

Hospitals won't like to hear of us because they bought old mamogram
machines they haven't milked profits from, he added.

Hence, Mackay said they're trying to sell their machines to local
government units or enter in a joint-venture with local village-based

According to chief executive Terry Macdonald, the machine also offers
recurring income for doctors because they need to replace sensors. But
he claims the cost is only at US$25 per patient.

The outright purchase can be recouped by 20,000 patients, he added.

Macdonald said they are not competing head on with major hospitals but
only "giving alternative options" to Filipino women above 15 years old
who may have to check for breast cancer susceptibility.

According to the Department of Health, breast cancer has overtaken
lung cancer as the most common illness in terms of incidence in Metro
Manila and Rizal.

The DOH said in a statement that breast cancer led the top ten cancer
sites for both sexes.

Citing World Health Organization data, a Mackay presentation said that
deaths from cancer worldwide are projected to continue rising, with an
estimated 12 million annual deaths by 2030.

"Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women and the second
leading cause of cancer death. Breast cancer diagnostics represents a
US$6-billion global market," the company's presentation added.

"In Europe and the West, they spend so much money on very expensive
technology but only a few can get the test," Mackay said adding that
with their technology, they aim to lower cost and extract high volume
of users.

"Early detection –and that's the case fro most cancers, will save so
much money. You cut down the burden on government and on insurance
companies. Ultimately, you help the government, the health system."

Mackay Holdings secured the technology after it purchased last year
Biofield Inc., which it renamed MacKay Life Sciences Inc.

Mackay's story goes that the company was offered to him by a doctor
from mainland China who eventually died of liver cancer but wanted to
bring breast cancer detection "to the masses."

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