Miss. Chinenye Anumba is the Head of planning and Strategy at KCH. In this interview with PharmaTimes Reporter, VICTORIA HARUNA, she speaks on the recent re-branding of the organisation among other issues. Excerpts:
KCH is the new name of your organisation; could you just shed some light on what informed the change of name?
We are simply re-branding. We believe that we have come of age to put all our investments, achievements, innovations and numerous on-going projects under an accommodative roof. After many years of careful planning and diligent executions KCH emerged as an amalgamation of different companies for the purpose of building a larger corporate entity that will cater for the diverse needs of the greatest majority of the global audience. As we speak, we have acquired some reputable companies, repositioned our business module and increased our product portfolio as part of our strategy to expand the coast of our business. And because we have an eye on the global scene we cannot afford to ride on the crest of Kuka Consumer Healthcare Limited – that was designed to offer services mostly within the west coast of Africa. So you can see that in conception and vision, Kuka Consumer Healthcare Limited had limitations in terms of reach, but KCH is pointing in the way of a bigger picture. Therefore we are re-branding for global impact.
And what is this ‘bigger picture’ that KCH is looking at?
My boss is in a better position to give you details and soonest he will be doing that. I will suggest you wait until then.
Sometime ago the company issued a press statement as a follow-up to an earlier one by your boss on the public acceptability of Zeramal QS, your organisation’s anti-malarial medicine. Could you lead us into the details of what happened?
Thank you so much for this question. Zeramal QS is our flagship medicine and an anti-malarial brand carefully formulated after extensive research. From 2012 when it was first introduced into the Nigerian market till May this year, it had recorded progressive acceptability from across the 36 states of the Federation. But from June this year up till now, the enquiries about the product, positive comments and voluntary testimonies on the efficacy of Zeramal QS increased tremendously forcing us to organise a survey to have independent but practical feeling of what we are getting from calls and emails, etc. In recent months, operators of drugstores and pharmacies, medical practitioners and end users alike – that have relied on the anti-malarial actions of Zeramal, have continued to inundate us with increasing number of satisfactory remarks and enquiries, affirming that the product enjoys high acceptability among Nigerians. So when we conducted the survey we discovered that many Nigerians have developed preference for the medicine because it is giving them the desired result. And because many of them that we spoke to, and who had used it for treatment of malaria, testified that ZeramalQS gave them a fast relief. Within us we know that Zeramal brands and all other brands in our portfolio are manufactured in the best traditions of pharmaceutical formulations that meet global standards.
It may interest you to know also that just recently we launched Zeramal TS into the Nigerian market. This new product is designed for effective treatment of malaria among children between the age brackets of 9 to 14 years. It is also coming into the drug market as the first of an ACT combination anti-malarial formulated for this age group in Nigeria. Despite the amazing testimonies coming from end users we are not resting on our oars in making sure that only the best products that are affordable are made available to majority of the Nigerian populace. Let me use this opportunity to state that KCH has over 100 drug generics registered with NAFDAC, and manufactured by WHO accredited pharmaceutical companies operating WHO-GMP plants. All our products are in circulation across the country in both OTC’s and prescription compositions working with the same degree of efficacy as Zeramal QS.
Counterfeiting is one of the challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry in Nigeria. How has your organisation been affected by it, and what strategies are you adopting to keep safe?
We are grateful to God that we have not been victims of any form of counterfeiting acts on any of our products. Yes, as you said, counterfeiting of drug products is one of the greatest challenges that the pharma industry is currently facing in our country. We appreciate that NAFDAC is making concerted efforts to eliminate the malaise of counterfeiting but it looks as if the criminal elements involved in this illicit business are relentless and fast adapting to new ways of circumventing the law. However, we guard our products very jealously, and as a result we were among the first organisations in the pharma industry to embrace the policy of digital protection through affixing MAS labels to our product packets when it was first introduced by the then Dr. Paul Orhii-led administration in NAFDAC. In fact, we are easily the first to ensure that all our product packets were affixed with MAS labels even during the pilot phase when authorities in NAFDAC had suggested its implementation to cover mostly anti-malarial products. So we do not have much problem with counterfeiting challenges.
How do you respond to the recent clampdown on marketers of counterfeit anti-hypertensive medicines in drug markets across Nigeria by NAFDAC officials?
It is a welcome development and I must commend efforts of NAFDAC in waging this unrelenting war on counterfeiters. Let me also commend the leadership of drug market unions across the country for putting up spirited efforts never before recorded in the history of their unionism in the war against marketing of counterfeit anti-hypertensive medicines in their various domains. There is urgent need for everyone to support this war because Hypertension is a dangerous disease that has killed millions of people around the world. It is sad to note that there are individuals who make a living out of marketing counterfeit versions of anti-hypertensive medicines.
Giving this scenario therefore, I will like to advise Nigerians especially end users of anti-hypertensive medicines to be cautious when buying anti-hypertensive drugs to avoid falling easy prey to the antics of illicit merchants of counterfeit drugs. However, in response to customer demands KCH launched into the Nigerian market recently two new brands of anti-hypertensive drugs known as Pharmamax Lisinopril and Pharmamax Amlodipine, for the effective reduction of the prevalence of hypertension in our society. While Lisinopril is designed to manage hypertension and treat heart failure, Amlodipine is used for controlling hypertensive conditions, and both are available in drugstores across the country at affordable prices.
And because we are determined to save millions of lives from the inherent risks of hypertension through our corporate social responsibility initiative, we intend to partner authorities in government at the state levels across Nigeria in running an awareness campaign for the purpose of educating the masses on the reality of hypertension and the urgent need for actions. Our team in collaboration with health officials from the states will conduct cardiovascular and blood screening of the rural dwellers to determine their hypertension status as well as educate them on how to identify genuine anti-hypertensive medicines.