In this exclusive interview with Pharmanews, Pharm. Chukwuma Ozoh, brand manager, Seagreen Pharmaceuticals Limited, speaks on the reason the company is promoting one of its flagship brands, Klovinal, a vaginal pessary that helps in treatment of fungal and bacterial infections, as well as reducing incidence of recurrence. He also discloses the company’s vision for the healthcare needs of Nigerians, and steps being taken by the company to get WHO prequalification for its brands. Excerpts:
Could you tell us a bit about Seagreen Pharmaceuticals Limited?
Seagreen Pharmaceuticals is an indigenous pharmaceutical company incorporated in Nigeria. The company commenced operations in 2010 and we are among the few indigenous companies that promote patented formulations. We are committed to enhancing the health and wellness status of the Nigerian society. We see a Nigeria where everyone has access to basic essential medicines regardless of their socio-economic status.
The company specialises in manufacturer’s representation, maintenance of scientific offices, sales and marketing of pharmaceutical products. Our product portfolio includes drugs for treatment and management of tropical diseases, anti-infective drugs, drugs for management of chronic diseases, paediatric health, obstetrics and gynaecology, and daily healthy living products.
We continuously scan the healthcare landscape to come up with products that can deliver exceptional value to health professionals and patients alike, in terms of quality, efficacy and relevance to the healthcare burden of the society. We specially focus on the key challenges in the management of common tropical disease and essential medicines for women and children’s health needs.
Why is Seagreen promoting Klovinal so vigorously?
The incidence of vaginal infections has been very alarming. It’s the second make disease burden in young adult women in developing countries like Nigeria. Over three million Nigerian women get recurrent vaginal thrush. Almost half of the patients treated for candidiasis still go back to the hospital due to recurrence. Klovinal is that vaginal pessary that reduces incidence of recurrence as well as treat both fungal and bacterial infections effectively.
Infective vaginitis is characterised by abnormal malodorous discharge. Mixed infections are common. Recurrence is a major challenge to the pharmacotherapy of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. And this is a serious issue because if not properly treated, this infection could lead to Pelvic inflammatory Disease (PID) which is a predictor of infertility among women.
Therefore, Seagreen, being a customer-responsive company decided to respond to the yearnings of the healthcare industry for a solution that can provide sustained cure against vaginitis. This was what heralded the arrival of Klovinal. Klovinal is a brand of polyactive pessaries marketed by Seagreen Pharmaceutical limited. It is specially designed and formulated for the management of vaginitis due to bacteria, fungi and protozoans. It has a spectrum of antimicrobial activity that covers the three most prevalent forms of vaginitis: bacterial vaginosis, vulvovaginal candidiasis and trichomoniasis. It is therefore suitable for empirical or syndromic management of vaginitis including mixed infections.
It is commonplace for some women having vaginal infection to use more than two products before seeing improvement in their condition. What could be responsible for this?
Repeated treatment of vaginal infections could result from recurrence following treatment. Firstly, most patients do not modify their lifestyle after treatment – they still continue with multiple sex partners, poor personal hygiene, indiscriminate use of antibiotics and contraceptive pills. Secondly, the efficacy of the drugs used to treat the infection matters. Recurrence can be reduced with Klovinal because it treats both bacterial and fungal infections, as well as assuring a healthy vagina.
What are the active ingredients in Klovinal that make it unique among other similar products?
The Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) in Klovinal are clotrimazole, an anti-fungal agent, metronidazole, an anti-microbial agent; and lactobacillus spore, a probiotic. In as much as Klovinal takes care of both fungal and bacterial infections, it restores the natural vaginal lactobacillus floral. You know the healthy vaginal environment is naturally acidic. When there is disruption in the ecosystem of the vagina, it affects the acidity, creating room for infection-causing micro-organisms to thrive. The vaginal lactobacillus floral helps fend off infections by producing acids such as lactic acid, bactericin and hydrogen peroxide. Lactobacillus acidophilus also adheres competitively to the vaginal mucosal wall.
Klovinal, inserted once daily, is entirely different from other polyactive pessaries because, apart from treating both fungal and bacterial vaginal infections, it restores the natural vaginal lactobacillus floral, which in, turn significantly reduces recurrence. There is no polyactive pessary with these benefits and it is also effective and safe in pregnancy.
Bacteria vaginosis is the most common cause of vaginitis, accounting for 50 per cent of cases of vaginal infections, what would you say is responsible for this?
One of the major risk factors of BV is being a black woman. Black women are nearly three times as likely as white women to have lower level of vitamin D, which is linked to an increased risk of bacterial vaginosis (BV). This is so because the higher amount of pigment in their skin prevents the body from absorbing vitamin D. The body utilises vitamin D to increase the number of Lactobacillus in the vagina. However, indiscriminate use of antibiotics has caused more harm than good,and this is the handiwork of quackery and self-medication.
The use of contraceptive pills causes BV by stimulating the release of glycogen by the vagina mucosal wall due to increase in the oestrogen level upon administration of the pills. The glycogen in turn undergoes gluconeogenesis lowering to glucose where gardnerella vaginalis and other infection-causing micro-organisms thrive.
Douching is one act some ladies practise to prevent infections and end up having same infections. Some ladies use soap to wash their vagina. These soaps tend to increase the PH level (less acidic) of the vaginal environment, making it conducive for these micro-organisms to thrive.
Also, wearing of tight clothing like leggings, jeggings and so on, increases temperature and moisture around the vaginal area. This makes the vagina conducive for those micro-organisms to thrive. Patients with bacterial vaginosis should modify their lifestyle and treat themselves with Klovinal.
WHO prequalification is gaining grounds in the country, and this may eventually affect pharma manufacturers that have not obtained it. Is there any plan from the company to get WHO prequalification for its brands?
Our mission at Seagreen is closely aligned with the WHO’s purpose for prequalification – provision of quality assured priority medicines. With Seagreen, the goal is to make available good quality pharmacotherapeutic options for the management of prevalent healthcare challenges in the country. Hence, the company adopted a proactive approach to quality, right from inception. This has ensured that Seagreen’s activities will not be significantly affected by prequalification requirements. We maintain a stringent prequalification and selection process for our manufacturers. Bliss GVS operates a total quality management system that has been validated and accredited by WHO GMP, EU GMP, PIC/S, ISO and NAFDAC.
Tell us about some of your other brands that are doing well in the market.
Presently, we have varieties of products, spanning across the treatment of tropical diseases and chronic diseases for women and children. Our anti-malarial, Gvither Plus (Arthermeter-Lumefantrine) is doing so very well in the market. Glumin (metformin), Bafama (Triple Action Cream), Razitro 250 (Azithromycin 250mg) capsules, Radiklo (diclofenac 50mg and 100mg), Amclavin (Co-Amoxiclav 156mg, 312.5mg, 375, 625mg), Prilas (lisinopril 5mg, 10mg) and Ralben (albendazole) to mention but few, are also doing well in the pharma market.
What is your vision for these products in the next five years?
I sum that up as “sustained relevance”. Health care science and practice are dynamic. In five years, it is our desire that Seagreen attains greater relevance in the health care system, and we are vigorously pursuing this. We are also positive that the products would have attained full acceptance as veritable health care solutions, barring any major evolutions in science and knowledge; that the society would find them dependable in the management of their disease conditions.