Focusing on the area of professional competence in Cardiovascular, Weight Management, Dermatology and Allergy and Eye Treatment, Deutsche Chefaro Pharma GmbH aspires to be among the top five leading players in the self-treatment of modern lifestyle diseases and in doing so to become a top 20 player within the OTC category within the next five years.
“As well as providing effective treatments, we also try to encourage patients to take responsibility for their own behaviour by promoting healthy eating and exercise,” says Marketing Director Marc van Boven.
However, changing patient behaviour is easier said than done, and as long as it is simpler to pop to the chemist for a pill or cream-based cure, people are likely to continue to engage in risky behaviour. In fact, self-diagnosis and self-medication are on the rise. This makes the German system in which pharmacists act as gatekeepers to the cornucopia of medicinal treatments all the more important.
“We work closely together with pharmacists to ensure that they understand our products and can pass that knowledge on to their customers,” says Mr. Van Boven. Although it targets pharmacists specifically with its team of 24 pharmaceutical sales representatives, Deutsche Chefaro Pharma adopts a three-pronged approach to marketing. In addition to retail pharmacies, this also targets doctors and end consumers.
“Our products can be bought without prescription and are frequently recommended as such by doctors,” says Mr. Van Boven. “We also advertise in various media so that end consumers will ask for our products by name. The secret to our success is our ability to appeal to all three target groups in equal measure.” The company covers all of the main areas of over-the-counter remedies and is the market leader in the German market with many of its products.
Among the company’s top brands are Wartner and Clabin, which are well-known treatments for removing warts, verrucas and corns. Granufink is a treatment that helps combat urinary tract problems associated with an overactive bladder. Opticalm eye drops are used to treat dry eyes, a condition that is on the rise thanks to the amount of time spent in front of computer screens in dry, airconditioned rooms. XLS-Medical is a revolutionary weight-loss concept. Eat better, move more + XLS-Medical = two times more weight loss. The efficiency of the product, which is 100% natural, is proven, and there are no reported side effects. In Europe, XLS-Medical is the number one.
The company also owns the Varilind brand of compression and support stockings. The former must be prescribed by a doctor and fitted by a trained orthopaedic technician. Another tried-and-trusted product is the Femtest pregnancy test, which has been giving women reliable and quick results for decades. In addition, Deutsche Chefaro Pharma has two cosmetic brands which are sold exclusively in pharmacies. For over 30 years, Claire Fischer-branded products have been formulated using natural extracts and high-quality ingredients. They are complemented by the Bodysol range of personal care products, which are also offered exclusively via pharmacies at competitive prices.
Other products include Azaron insect bite pens, Dermalex cream for the treatment of eczema and psoriasis, HemoClin haemorrhoid cream, Herpatch cold sore plasters, Paranix head louse treatment, Parazeet insect repellents, Silence anti-snoring throat spray and Oralmedic mouth ulcer gel.
Deutsche Chefaro Pharma was founded in 1972 as a subsidiary of Akzo Nobel. In 2001 it was taken over by the Belgian pharmaceutical company Omega Pharma, which was founded in 1987 by Mark Coucke. Its core business was the sale of cosmetics through pharmacies, and the acquisition came about as part of its strategy of expanding its product range. Through its purchase of Chefaro, it was able to add brands such as Femtest and Azaron to its range. Most recently it acquired the Granufink and Abtei brands from Glaxo Smith Kline.
Omega Pharma is active throughout Europe in the OTC sector with a portfolio of around 2,000 international brands. With total turnover of 1.2 billion EUR, Omega Pharma ranks among the top ten suppliers of over-the-counter treatments in Europe.
Deutsche Chefaro Pharma generates between 70 and 75 million EUR in turnover from the sale of the company’s products in Germany. A workforce of 100 employees supports the company’s activities in the German market. This year, the company completed the move of its headquarters from its historical home in Waltrop close to Dortmund to a new building in Düsseldorf.
As a result of the move, around two thirds of its staff are new to the company. This has brought a new dynamic to its operation. “We have a very young and enthusiastic team as well as a flat hierarchical structure,” says Mr. Van Boven. “This allows us to react quickly to changes in the market and consumer needs.”
The company invests heavily in marketing and sales. Its sales force includes five key account managers and is constantly in contact with pharmacies to inform them of upcoming products. A separate sales network is responsible for sales of Varilind compression stockings, which are also stocked by orthopaedic specialists. Although many of its brands have been on the market for more than 30 years, Deutsche Chefaro Pharma is seen as a highly innovative company.
“The OTC market has been transformed over the years and is now an important additional revenue stream for pharmacies,” says Mr. Van Boven. “By taking the decision to distribute a product exclusively via pharmacies, you automatically increase its standing in the eyes of consumers by selling it in a professional environment. Pharmacies have to be careful not to dilute the good reputation they have built up by ensuring that the products they stock are effective. We support their efforts by supplying innovative products with a proven track record.”
Deutsche Chefaro Pharma’s mix of traditional treatments and innovative new products provides the perfect lineup in a competitive field. “We offer a range of well-known treatments for common ailments backed up by efficient customer service,” says Mr. Van Boven. “We also offer training courses for pharmaceutical staff via the Chefaro Academy so that they can give their customers informed advice.”
The trend for pharmacies to act as the first port of call for help with minor complaints is set to grow. The idea that there is a “pill for ever ill” is becoming more firmly ingrained as modern lifestyles continue to encourage ill-health. By contrast and as a direct result of this development, Deutsche Chefaro Pharma can rejoice in a clean bill of health.