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Health and Pharmaceutical Sector in Malaysia

Title: OTC products set to lift Duopharma sales
Date: 18-Sep-2004

DUOPHARMA Biotech Bhd's expansion of its over-the-counter (OTC) health product range is expected to boost sales from this segment to RMlOmil by year-end and by 50% to 100% higher by 2005.

"Currently, the amount generated by our OTC product range is still relatively small compared with the group's total revenue and the market size," financial controller Chek Wu Kong told reporters at the launch of the company's latest herbal product, Villosa, in Subang Jaya yesterday.

"We will continue to introduce new OTC health products to boost sales," he added.

Duopharma reported a turnover of RM73.8mil in the year ended Dec 31, 2003. Last year, OTC health products generated RM6.7mil in sales, or less than 10% of total group revenue.

According to industry figures, total OTC product sales in the local market are expected to hit RM800mil by 2006.

"This is a high growth market segment as consumers are more willing to spend on alternative treatment methods now," Chek said.

Villosa, which is marketed as a supplement, is a product claimed to help reduce menstrual pain in women.

Next, the company plans to introduce OTC slimming products as part of its strategy to target selected consumer groups.

"We have allocated RM2mil to RM3mil for advertising and promotional expenses to promote our products this year," Chek said.

On other developments, Chek said Duopharma had already shifted the manufacture of its existing small volume injectable products to its newly completed dedicated sterile plant.

"The utilisation rate at the new plant is below 30%. . .there is still plenty of room for further growth," he said.

He added that the new facility catered to the production of biotech injectable products such as erythropoietin injection, recombinant vaccines and metered dose inhalers.

"The 90,000sq. ft. plant is among the best in the region and meets the most stringent regulatory requirements," he said, adding that the older facility would now focus on production of oral preparations such as capsules, tablets and syrups.

Extracted from The Star 17 September 2004



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