Pharmacy News

Sandeep Verma, Health News, ET HealthWorld

Shahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld, spoke to Sandeep Verma, Country Head, Bayer Consumer Health Division, India to know more about trends in ‘self -care’ medications that can support responsible consumer behaviour and also provide a level playing field for all companies operating in consumer health.

  1. What are the trends in self-care that have observed during the pandemic?
    The pandemic has brought a heightened focus on health and nutrition, particularly in line with ensuring adequate immunity and energy levels to tackle the daily health challenges. Consumers are increasingly opting for self-care products so that they can take charge of their own health. Moreover, the widespread adoption of digital technology innovations has led to the emergence of a new trend of health awareness, which can be leveraged to easily provide individuals with high quality information leading to better and more responsible self-care. Our task is to empower all Indians to make responsible, well-informed choices for self-care for themselves and their families.
  2. How does Bayer plan to advance responsible self-care?
    In order to promote responsible self-care in India, we will have to address the lack of awareness, knowledge and understanding regarding the same. It will be critical to bridge this gap so that it can give people the confidence to become more proactive vis-à-vis their own health.

At Bayer Consumer Health, we will work towards enabling the consumers through our various product offerings, including our four core brands Saridon, Supradyn, Canesten and Alaspan, which are directly relevant to the rising demand for proactive healthcare. Through these brands we have a strong p resence in the 4 core consumer health categories of Pain management (analgesics), Nutrition, Dermatology and Anti-allergy. We are building all of these brands as complete ecosystem solutions which can prompt informed decision-making and proactive health seeking behavior from consumers. For instance, Supradyn will help the consumers to ensure optimal nutrition by supplementing their diets. Our iconic brand Saridon, will help consumers by offering a complete head pain management solution so that they can work to the best of their abilities, thereby maximizing their productivity.We have also launched an India Self-Care Council, which we hope to build as a multi-stakeholder body that will work towards promoting responsible self-care. One of the key actions we will take under the same would be launching a national self-care knowledge service, which will be a first-of-its-kind digitally enabled solution, backed by scientific expertise, to empower consumers with access to credible self-care information. Through a combination of many such measures, we hope to prompt consumers to take firm steps towards proactive health management.

  1. Who all are a part of India’s first-ever Self-Care Council and what role will India’s self-care council play in shaping responsible self-care for India?
    India’s first Self-Care Council by Bayer Consumer Health is a multi-stakeholder body and will comprise members across a broad spectrum of sectors, including media, industry associations, technology, infrastructure, and other organizations. The aim of this council is to bring the best self-care expertise on a common table and collectively suggest actions that can enable the consumer health industry to help reboot India and bring it back to its productive best so that we can keep moving towards our dreams of AtmaNirbhar Bharat.

We will do this by navigating and addressing pressing topics and misconceptions about health and responsible self-care.Through the Council, Bayer Consumer Health will also engage in discussions with other partners to find solutions to democratize best self-care solutions and make them accessible to even the underserved sections of the Indian society, especially in rural India. Enhancing health literacy will be our key priority while we deliver self-care solutions. We are excited to bring this council and key insights and learnings generated from our global experiences across many other developing markets to India.

  1. How does the launch of the CH business tie into Bayer’s overall business strategy?
    Bayer has been present in India for 125 years, with its operations encompassing Crop Science, Pharmaceuticals and now, the newly launched Consumer Health Division. This division will further strengthen the company’s commitment to the people of India. The launch of Bayer Consumer Health will help make Self-care a reality for 1.4 billion Indians through everyday healthcare, in line with Bayer’s vision ‘Health for All, Hunger for None.’

Further, with the launch of the division, we at Bayer Consumer Health aim to reach 100 million consumers in India through our self-care products in the next few years. This is in line with Bayer’s business and sustainability goals, which set clear targets across the core areas of food security, healthcare and climate protection. Expanding access to self-care solutions and health education can help patients prevent diseases and offer healthcare to communities where self-care might be the only option. The initiatives supported through the Self-care Council will help people gain confidence in self-care and give impetus to its adoption.

  1. How does India’s current OTC policy impact the consumer health space and thereby Bayer’s CH product portfolio?
    As for the OTC policy, effective laws and well-defined regulations are essential for the smooth functioning of OTC market in India, so that consumers can be well-informed of relevant health information, the right kind of responsible self-care in line with their needs. These are necessary to define preventive health options as well as those that do not require a prescription.

Globally, information on each product within the OTC space is available, but India still needs laws mandating defined regulations for OTC medicines. This will help circumvent challenges in the Consumer Health space while also supporting responsible consumer behaviour and provide a level playing field for all companies operating in consumer health.

Further, the OTC space in India is still at a nascent stage. The penetration across all these categories in the sector is still low. The core task we will endeavour to do is make the OTC market size bigger across the categories (pain management, nutrition, etc.) that we are present in. Our focus is to get more consumers to adopt these categories so they can proactively manage their own health and consequently also reduce the stress on our primary healthcare systems.

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