In this exclusive interview with Pharmanews, Pharm. Linda Nwabuike, brand and product manager, Agary Pharmaceuticals Limited, explains why the company seeks to increase brand awareness for two of its flagship brands, Doppelherz Energetic Tonic and Doppelherz Vital Tonic, German-made natural health products which she says relieve stress, restore vitality, improve blood circulation and boost heart function, among other benefits.
Tell us a bit about Agary Pharmaceuticals Limited
Agary Pharmaceuticals Limited was established in 1992 as a national and regional marketing company that specialises in the importation and distribution of medical and hospital consumables. Agary is known as a trusted brand in Nigeria and beyond and it has decades of experience in the pharmaceutical market.
The company currently has a world class manufacturing facility in Lagos where top quality pharmaceutical formulations are manufactured, while it partners with notable companies outside the country, such as Queisser and Accosson in Europe and Asia, to make available products that address the health needs of Nigerians.
Why did you introduce Doppelhertz Tonics into the Nigerian market and why are they being promoted so vigorously?
Doppelherz Tonics are German products that everyone needs at some point in their lifetime and when the need arises it is good to know that Doppelherz Tonics are there to help for stress, anxiety, insomnia and cardiovascular health.
One of the reasons for promoting Doppelherz is the recent change in the packaging, so as to alert customers that it is the same tonics in a new packaging. The tonics were first released in 2013 in Nigeria. Since then the packaging has been rebranded to reflect that they are actually herbal tonics and not blood tonic, as many sees them. The recent campaign for doppelherz tonics started in June 2017, in partnership with selected pharmacies. With the help of the Doppelherz tonics posters and adverts in some journals, Pharmanews included, and since the campaign started, the popularity and demand for the Doppelherz tonics has increased significantly.
The tonics are in two formulations, Doppelherz Energetic Tonic and Doppelherz Vital Tonic, and they both contain Hawthorn and Melissa, but in slightly different formulations.
Doppelherz Energetic Tonic is a multi-beneficial tonic. Aside from relieving anxiety, stress and insomnia, the tonic also boosts circulation and strengthens the cardiovascular system. Doctors can also confidently prescribe the tonic as an adjunct in cardiovascular conditions or as a first line for patient presenting with conditions such as anxiety and insomnia, before considering using drugs that patients could get dependent on.
However, while Vital Tonic is sugar-free, Energetic Tonic contains red wine and honey; therefore a diabetic or patients that need to avoid alcohol should be recommended Vital Tonic.
There are other alternatives for anxiety and insomnia but they tend to have a sort of hangover effect later on. Meanwhile, with Doppelherz Energetic tonic, natural sleep is actually encouraged and circulation is boosted; so the patient gets up feeling great in the morning.
In this hectic and busy time, Doppelherz Energetic and Vital tonics are definitely the herbal tonic to have as a companion.
Tell us about the active ingredients present in Doppelherz Tonics and what differentiates them from other similar products in the Nigerian market?
As I said earlier, Doppelherz Energetic Tonic and Doppelherz Vital Tonic are not blood tonics; they are herbal tonics. And the active ingredients are Hawthorn, Mellissa, Rosemary, Valerian, red wine and honey.
Doppelherz Vital Tonic contains Hawthorn, Melissa and Hop strobiles and it’s sugar-free. Hawthorn is an ancient herb that has been used for centuries in the treatment of cardiovascular conditions. It has two active substances, Flavonoids and Proanthocyanidins, which widen blood vessels, increasing blood circulation and oxygen supply. This increases the physical ability of the heart. Also, Hawthorn is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, able to fight free radicals. Melissa is a mild anxiolytic and Valerian relieves mild symptoms of mental stress and aids sleep.
Sometimes, people use blood tonic, without seeing improvement in their conditions. What could be responsible for this?
First question is, what kind of improvement is the patient seeking? There are so many blood tonics available now and people use them for different reasons. It would be best for the patient to seek the advice of a healthcare professional for accurate diagnosis and treatment of any condition. Self-medication is highly practised in Nigeria, despite the large population of uneducated people in the country. I advise patients to always seek medical advice before making purchase of any drug.
Since the products were introduced, how have they been doing in the market?
The Doppelherz tonics have been growing in popularity in recent months, due to the drive of the marketing team in educating healthcare professionals in Nigeria about the tonics. We get recurrent orders from previous pharmacists and customers that have a firsthand experience with the products and we also have prospects all over the country.
Tell us about some of your other brands that are doing well in the market.
Doppelherz Eye Vital and Eye Vital Plus are other brands from Agary Pharma that are well known in Nigeria among optometrists and ophthalmologists and their rapidly growing popularity is due to their efficacy and reliability in the management of certain ocular disorders.
Eye Vital is an eye antioxidant for the prevention of age-related macular degeneration, visual fatigue and prevention of cataracts. There is also Garylyte, an oral rehydration salt and Agary Paracetamol, among others.
What is the company’s vision for these products in the next five years?
At the heart of Agary Pharmaceutical Limited vision is the provision of high quality drug formulations available to the public at a very affordable rate. Agary desires to be known for high quality drug formulations at an affordable price for the effective treatment, and management of health conditions.
Specifically for the DoppelHerz range of products, due to the change in our lifestyle in recent years, as well as advancements in both technology and knowledge, it has become imperative that certain important supplements are included as part of our daily diet to support our rigorous lifestyle. Therefore, Agary Pharmaceutical Limited is glad to ensure that, in the next five years, the DoppelHerz range is available for every household or individual who may