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Russian President visited a company in the Penza region which produces artificial heart valves
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited a company in the Penza region on Tuesday which produces artificial heart valves. Presidential envoy to the Volga federal district Sergei Kiriyenko, Health Care Minister Mikhail Zurabov and Penza governor Vasily Bochkaryov accompanied the president during the familiarization tour of the Medinzh plant. The enterprise is Russia's largest producer of artificial heart valves. Company director general Sergei Yevdokimov, acting as a guide, said Medinzh supplies its products to all cardiac centers in the country and that it has already made the first moves toward entering international markets. During the tour, Putin was denied access to one of the shops which maintains extra sterile conditions inside. The company currently turns out more than 5,000 valves a year, which only meets 15 percent of market demand. Although Medinzh has enough capacity to boost production, the state has not yet boosted purchases of valves, Zurabov said. After the visit to the company, the president went to the regional Burdenko hospital for a meeting with medics. Medinzh was founded in 1994. The A.N. Bakulev cardiovascular center under the Russian Academy of Sciences is its co-founder. At present, the company produces quality artificial heart valves, which enabled it to replace expensive foreign analogues on the domestic market. Of the total number of artificial valves implanted in Russia, Medinzh accounts for 75 percent, which saves one billion roubles a year. Medinzh manufactured 4,000 valves last year, and is expected to boost production by 1,000 units in 2005. The company employs 180 personnel with an average monthly wage of 7,900 roubles. In 1995, it won a Grand Prix at the word exhibition of innovation, research and new technology in Brussels. Its products won a silver medal an exhibition of inventions in Geneva in 1996. In 2000 and 2002, the company's valve became a laureate of the program "100 best products of Russia."
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