In line with the company’s vision to provide products with high quality and safety standards, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare has launched two new ranges of multivitamins and minerals.
The official products unveiling took place during the opening ceremony of the 88th Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria’s (PSN) annual conference which held on November 10, 2015 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
While addressing newsmen, Sue Cartwright, Pfizer’s marketing manager (Southern & West Africa) explained that Centrum range of multivitamins is scientifically formulated to help fill nutritional gaps in diets, enhance multiple health benefits to help unlock energy, strengthen immunity as well as support healthy eyes and brain development.
She further highlighted that the products are tailored to different ages and lifestyle; children, women, men, pregnant women and adults over 50 years. Keeping in mind that dietary supplements are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease but rather help consumers attain the recommended dietary allowance.
“Although we are treating our entry as a launch, Centrum is already available in the country via informal means (suitcase trade, temporary import permits). We have been in the market since 1968 and over these years, a lot of science and technology have gone into it.
“Centrum is the most clinically studied multivitamin brand with over 100,000 patient years of exposure in clinical studies in the world,” she said.
During a presentation on the second product, Caltrate, Cartwright disclosed that it is equally a scientifically formulated calcium supplement for adults and the elderly to support calcium and vitamin D deficiencies as well as assists in osteoporosis treatment.
“It is the World’s No.1 selling calcium supplement with vitamin D for calcium absorption, helping to support strong and healthy bones.
On her assessment of the Nigerian pharmaceutical market, the Pfizer marketing manager declared that it seems like a complex one because of the huge presence of drugs.
“But I think it is very exciting. There are a lot of variants coming in. Secondly I must admit that working with Nigerian pharmacists too is quite exciting. However we are positive about the huge opportunities awaiting us,” she noted.
On measures taken to avert counterfeiting of Centrum and Caltrate, Cartwright announced that both Pfizer and WWCVL teams are working closely with NAFDAC on the possibility of introducing the Mobile Authentication Service (MAS) technology.
She was also quick to point out that since the products are imported into the country directly from abroad, there is no reported case of counterfeit yet.
“However we have got people on the ground to assess the problem better. We (Pfizer team and WWCVL management) will be working together with Nigerian healthcare workers – doctors, pharmacists, nurses and we will be going directly to the consumers through newspapers, radio, television and digital media,” she concluded.
In a related development, Zikhona Spelman, a qualified South African dietician also addressed pharmacists on the role of nutritional supplements in the new millennium.
“It is pertinent to note that people are not eating the way they are supposed to. Besides, the nutritional value of food has changed over time. This is where nutritional value comes in. However such supplements are not meant to replace your normal meal,” she stressed.
The dietician further harped on the need for multivitamins, specifically the ones with B Complex, to be taken in the morning.
According to her, they are meant to extract energy from food.
“You need energy during the day hence the need to take them in the morning. Otherwise the purpose of taking it either in the evening or any other time would be defeated.
But calcium is totally a different case. It has big molecular structure which can interfere with absorption and other nutrients. This is why serious physicians canvass that you take multivitamin in the morning and calcium in the evening,” she said.
Pfizer is one of the world’s premier pharmaceutical companies, committed to applying science and global resources to improve health and well-being at every stage of life.
It has its operating affiliate office in Nigeria with two of the world’s leading multivitamins and minerals – Centrum and Caltrate (both approved by NAFDAC).
In attendance at the official launch were Uloaku Atueyi, brand manager (Nigeria); Deepak Kanwar, WWCVL sales manager; Pharm. Bruno Nwankwo, chairman, Pharmacists Council of Nigeria (PCN); Pharm. Lere Baale, director of Business School of Netherlands; Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, former Neimeth Pharmaceuticals Plc CEO and Pharm. Ade Popoola, chairman, PSN Board of Fellows.
Others were Rukiyat Odekunle, director of Procurement, Federal Ministry of Health; Pharm. Ifeanyi Atueyi, managing director of Pharmanews Limited; Pharm. Lawrence Anyafulu, a PSN Fellow; Pharm. Ike Onyechi, managing director of Alpha Pharmacy; directors of pharmaceutical services and other relevant stakeholders.