Thursday, 6 December 2012
Kunnath Pharmaceuticals, the makers of controversial Ayurvedic drug, Musli Power Xtra, is making the best of their corporate resurrection after their flagship product was cleared by labs, courts, and drug agencies.
Apart from launching five new products, the Kochi headquartered proprietary drug maker is all set to roll out a new Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, which will touch over 1 lakh needy family members in the Indian society, in its first phase.
The new products from the Kunnath stable are Musli Power Premium (for men), Musli Power Eve (for women), Breath Power X-tra, Dia-Rid, & Liv Power X-tra.
To address over 1 lakh family members initially, Kunnath Pharma founder Dr. KC Abraham has decided to address the segment of auto & taxi drivers in its first phase.
The new products were launched in New Delhi during the recently concluded mammoth Ayurvedic Exhibition, Musli Power Arogya Utsav, which saw 120 Ayurvedic product companies from all over the country enthusiastically putting up stalls. The exhibition was also noted for the professional but free medical advice to visitors by Kunnath Pharma’s panel of doctors.
The launch was a high-profile event being done by former Central Minister and MP Oscar Fernandes, and TV superstar Mukesh Khanna of ‘Bhishma’ and ‘Shaktiman’ fame.
A similar event is being planned in Jaipur, Rajasthan, for the launch of the new CSR initiative. Thousands of auto & taxi drivers in the city would be gifted with a kit that will include high-quality wrinkle-free khaki uniforms, besides other items for everyone in their family.
After Jaipur, each major city will witness this generous CSR program, with around 5000 drivers addressed in each city or state, to make up 25,000 drivers in the first phase.
Dr. KC Abraham informed that the initiative is a salute towards our brethren in the drivers’ community who safely transfer tens of thousands of women, children, & elderly towards their destinations, that are near and far, day in and day out.
The new CSR program is in commemoration of the company coming out unscathed from the allegations instigated by big-pharma companies, and successfully launching five new products, addressing most in the family.
Abraham also claimed that like their flagship product Musli Power X-tra, all the five new products are made of 100% herbal ingredients, with no side effects, and that it can be taken with other medications.
The new products from the Group are designed to address the needs of different members of the family. While Musli Power Premium is intended for general debility and lethargy for middle-aged and aged men, Musli Power Eve is directed at general debility and lethargy in women.
Breath Power X-Tra is intended for cough and congestion of the chest, while Dia-Rid is for sugar metabolism. Liv Power X-Tra is designed for detoxification of liver.
On being asked why Kunnath is not entering the FMCG sub-segment of Ayurvedic cosmetics like fairness creams, hair oils etc, Dr. Abraham said that he is very particular that Kunnath’s formulations should work. According to him, there is no point in launching products just for pushing sales using advertisements.
Dr. Abraham expects the fame of effectiveness that Kunnath obtained from Musli Power X-Tra would prompt customers to try the five new products too.
Apart from the new CSR initiative, the companies existing line of social works include financial aid to 4000 economically challenged students and senior citizens, as well as Utilities and Bus Shelters in metro cities like New Delhi & Mumbai.
Even as people abhor the dark days of Emergency of mid 70s, it was this event that changed an ordinary headload worker K C Abraham to a multimillionaire owning Kunnath Pharmaceuticals producing and marketing ‘herbal viagra’ under the brand name Musli Power Extra in Muvattupuzha in Ernakulam district. Though he describes the period as dreadful years, Abraham vividly recalls the Emergency days when he was one of the conveners of the CITU headload workers in Kottayam market.
The 59-year-old Abraham does not rule out his rising to a top political leader if he had continued in the politics then. Displaying his deterrence to face any challenges in life, Abraham said that he had come the hard way since his childhood. All the problems that came his way as a businessman were nothing compared to his childhood days.
A member of 11-member family, Abraham had faced all the difficulties of being a member of a poor family based at Ayavana in Muvattupuzha. He is the brother of Arjuna award winner former Indian woman athlete
K C Rosakutty, who participated in 1996 and 2000 Olympics in 4x400 relay race. She won silver medal in 1998 Asian Games in 800 metre race.
None other than the two from the family had made much achievements in their lives. Abraham said that he never wanted to depend on his father even during his school days. He was keen to generate income to fund
his studies while by taking up trivial jobs like selling peanuts. He would sell four peanuts with its shell for one paise. He would buy peanut from Vazhakulam market and fry and sell them while still he was in the school walking one km to and fro. Mainly the summer vacation was utilised to the hilt in earning money as a teenager. Soon after his SSLC examination in 1971 he rushed in search of a job to find one as a hotel cleaner for a wage of Re 1 a day. The work was hectic which started from 5.30 am and extended till 10.30
pm. Abraham’s quest for finding new ways of generating income was seen even during his teenage days. He would establish contacts with customers to whom he would visit to serve tea and coffee from the hotel where he worked. Abraham had hardly worked for around two months in a hotel when he got offer from another with slightly higher wage. He soon rushed to the place and joined work enthusiastically even if as the hike was 50 paise per day. Abraham recalls with pride the day he got his first salary from the hotel and the moment when he went to his house to hand over `7 to his mother. Abraham hired a cycle and pedaled it to his house to a few kilometres to avoid paying bus fare. Though his father owned about 70 cents, he had little income from his daily wages to feed other members of the family. On his decision to jump to take up the work of a helper in the hotel, he said in those days one would have to register their names in the employment exchange and wait indefinitely. ‘I had no patience to do it,’ he said. “Several times people had suspected that I had jumped class to work in the school. To prove my credentials I would show them my hallticket of SSLC examination,” he said. He still recalls his mother giving him the advice of maintaining high integrity in life and taking care ofoneself by feeding properly.
Abraham has been following this and has been encouraging his three daughters to stick to the principles. One of his daughters is assisting him in his business. Two others are being prepared to take up different responsibilities in the company. Recalling his days as the union leader of headload workers in Kottayam during Emergency period, Abraham said that there was a sense of fear psychosis among political leaders. As people of Opposition parties were being sent to jail during Emergency, political activities came to a standstill forcing him to move away to other areas in search of livelihood. His efforts to find a job as a bus conductor for which he had written a test also did not materialise. It was during his stint as a head load worker that he came into contact with transporters which helped him get the job of a lorry cleaner in 1977-78.
During his job as a cleaner for around three years, he took up long trips to metro cities which helped in gaining knowledge of the transport industry. In 1981, he got himself promoted as lorry driver after getting the licence and started taking cargo to other parts of the country. It was the tremendous confidence and courage which pushed him towards acquiring a lorry to carry cargo of his known merchandise in 1985. He started getting orders mainly from pineapple growers for sending consignments across the country. Over a period of time, he acquired four lorries and took plunge into pineapple farming in the 90s. He took around 10 acres of land on lease to take up pineapple farming to supply fruit to metro cities, including Mumbai, Surat, Hyderabad, and other places. It was during this time he got another shock of his life when the Mumbai serial blasts rocked the country. He said that his lorry was held up in Mumbai market and another couple was on the way to the metro. Miraculously the problem did not prolong for long and things were back to normal. Abraham still remembers these two historical events of Emergency and Mumbai serial blasts that had shaken his life for a brief period.
Abraham said that he was the first to transport pineapple to other parts of the country. Later, when people started imitating him, the business turned out to be less profitable which forced him to leave the scene in 2001-02. It was during this time the idea of developing an alternative to Viagra in ayurveda stuck his mind. This led him to Bikaner in Rajasthan where he learnt the nuances of cultivation of Safed Musli which is a major ingredient of making his product. The government subsidy for growing Safed Musli and vanilla also encouraged him to this sector, he said. He procured large quantity of seeds of Musli and started its cultivation in Kerala in over 5.5 acres of land at four different centres with the help of around 30 workers. Things did not turn out as planned as the climate was not favourable and there was no taker for the 5,000 kg of seeds produced by him, he said. This made him to think in terms of adding value to Safed Musli and bring out the ayurvedic Viagra in capsule form. The success was instantaneous as the company made sales of `45 lakh in 2005. Then sales went up to `2.5 crore in 2006, `7 crore in 2007, `15 crore in 2008 and `45 crore in 2009. Even as the company was planning to hit the target of `100 crore, the government ban on manufacturing of the product and other allegations about the product in 2010 brought the sales down to `32 crore. It still went down to `15 crore in the subsequent year. However, the company is planning to register a sales of `80 crore this year, he said.
Abraham has set up a registered charitable society under the banner Kunnath Vidya Santhwana Jyothi which speaks well about his philanthropic interest. Kunnath Vidya Jyothi for giving financial help to poor students in the age group of 10 - 16 years. Kunnath Santhwana Jyothi to serve a total of 2,000 poor senior citizens. Abraham has the honour of receiving Pazhassi Raja Award for Business Excellence from the then President Pratibha Patil in 2010. The award is constituted by Pazhassi Raja Educational and Charitable Trust, Kerala. Besides this, the entrepreneur has won ‘Indira Gandhi Sadbhavana Award’ from Global Economic Council, New Delhi, in 2005, ‘Bharat Jyothi Award’ from Citizens Integration Peace Society, Hyderabad, in 2006. He was awarded honorary doctorate by University of Maryland, University College, Rockville, US, in 2006. He has won International Gold Star Millennium Award 2007 sponsored by the Indo-Thai Friendship and Economic Cooperation, Thailand, for the invention of a product, .
Dismissing allegations of mixing of steroids in his products, he said that Musli Power Xtra is formulated from safed musli, widely known as Indian herbal aphrodisiac. This is a unique formulation of 9 ingredients consisting of the highest quality extracts from worlds best exotic herbs, out of 9 exotic herbs and most modern way of manufacturing which accords to WHO specifications he claimed. Kunnath Pharmaceuticals is engaged in the research, development and manufacture of high quality, result giving Ayurvedic medicines and food supplements.
The R&D of the company is doing research in special areas where the real potential of Ayurveda is yet to be explored. A team of doctors and scientists is continuously working to achieve the best out of ayurveda. The treasure of ayurveda is invaluable, he said. ‘We are trying to discover the most of them to make mankind healthy and happy’, he said. Indian herbal aphrodisiac for men and women is a unique formulation of ingredients consists of the highest quality extracts from world’s most exotic herbs. This is one of a kind, potent and extraordinarily effective natural sex enhancer, he said. The product is patronised by different countries, including Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands and other countries. He said that his company has brought out different drugs for men and women to fight general debility and lethargy. Other drugs are to fight cough and chest congestion, increase glucose metabolism, and medicine for detoxification of the liver.