On Thursday August 20, we hosted Lab & Allied at the Nailab. The event was aimed at enlightening bloggers about the pharmaceutical company’s 45 year journey, their expansion strategy, and more on their drugs combating lifestyle diseases.
The session was informative as most of the bloggers in attendance had their questions on the pharmaceutical industry addressed. The panel of three, Mr. Suprakash Mandal, Mr. Anad Joshi, and Mr. Nitya Patel engaged the audience, shedding light and demystifying some existing myths in the pharmaceutical industry.
Founded in 1970’s, Lab & Allied has dedicated itself to producing generic drugs for Kenyan market and the East African region. They do not carry out primary research, but invest in adaptive research on original drugs and produce generics. Therefore they do not hold any patents. Generic drugs usually marketed without brand names are generally less expensive than brand-name drugs, even though they are chemically identical to brand-name drugs and meet all the standards of the Pharmaceutical and Poisons Board, the Kenyan Drug Regulatory Authority.
Mr. Suprakash, Lab & Allied CEO who is a pharmacist by profession, said that the debate on Generics vs Originals is a myth. “Generics are just as good as the branded drugs, which are original”, he said.
He revealed that they are venturing into more drugs that manage lifestyle diseases such as ‘Sucra’, an artificial sweetener for use by diabetics. They are also planning to launch a drug to treat H. pylory an infection that occurs when a type of bacteria called Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infects your stomach. It is a common cause of peptic ulcers. They will be the first Kenyan company to manufacture this drug. They focus on three lifestyle diseases, diabetes, hypertension and osteoarthritis.
He said they do not manufacture HIV management drugs due to the long tendering process involved with the donor agencies. He said it is not a financially viable venture because ARVs are subsidized and large India based companies are the ones who get the tenders to supply them. However, they manufacture a range of products that manage opportunistic infections.
On why India’s pharmaceutical industry has excelled, Mr. Supracash said they used to ignore patents before becoming signatories to the World Trade Organization treaty. “They specialized in studying the processes of production, altering them, producing and patenting new brands,” he said. “India also has a large population and more pharmaceutical companies,” he added.
Technology could not be ignored during this event, as it involved bloggers. Google has provided quick answers to self diagnosis. Mr. Supracash said that one of the greatest dangers of drug abuse is self medication. “Headaches can be caused by more than ten reasons, a brain tumor being one cause, if you google the cause, your headache will not go unless you have a CT scan to clear your suspicion of a tumor”, he said.
Mr. Anad Joshi said that the developed world has a high literacy level and buying prescription Only Medication is highly restricted. Lab & Allied advises consumers to consult qualified doctors. “Pharmacists ought to practice ethical dealings”, he said regarding over the counter medications.
Lab & Allied manufactures more than 250 drugs. Some of their brands are Toto Mol, a paracetamol syrup for children, Dentamol, a pain reliever for dental pain, fevers and minor aches, and Nopen, a pain balm. They also produce a range of De-worming drugs that they sell at cost as part of their CSR.