We conduct research and development work in our own laboratory. It is equipped with state-of-the-art analytical equipment and technology that allows you to develop a drug and then easily transfer it from laboratory to production. The devices that we have in the laboratory allow practically to reproduce the processes that occur in production.Michał Frąk: - What do you do in Aflofarm?
Hanna Wahl: - The main task of my and my Development Division is to expand the range of products of the company. We accomplish this task in two ways. The first is their own research and development work, the second is to search for products that can be licensed. More than 60 people are working in the Development Division. They are both very experienced professionals and young people, just starting a career. Our team is developing. We are constantly recruiting. New organizational units are created, so we are constantly looking for candidates to work.
The Development Division is divided into teams of specialists who deal with the product at different stages of its development. First, analysis and conceptualization are conducted. We talk with doctors, pharmacists, we look at market trends, we analyze scientific reports, we also use our own experience. The next step is to develop the drug form and test methods. This is done in a technological and analytical laboratory. Then in the Planning and Registration Department the documentation of the medicinal product is completed. There is evidence of the quality, effectiveness and safety of the drug. It is submitted to the Office for Registration of Medicinal Products and after a positive evaluation we obtain a marketing authorization.
How is a new drug developed? - Research and development work in our own laboratory. It is equipped with state-of-the-art analytical equipment and technology that allows you to develop a drug and then easily transfer it from laboratory to production. The devices that we have in the laboratory allow practically to reproduce the processes that occur in production.
In our development work, we aim to make our products as best as possible and offer an additional benefit that will make the use of pharmacotherapy easier and more effective.
What can be done to make pharmacotherapy easier? - We recently introduced a new drug. The innovation of this solution is that it is in the form of an oral suspension. This is the first such drug in the world. Until now, it was only available in the form of tablets. It was very uncomfortable for children to be given this form. We had to crush the tablets and dissolve in water. The solution is not tasty, children react badly to it. It was not known whether the child took a full dose. When conducting research, we talked with doctors and parents who were very positive about our idea. A suspension has been developed that is easy to administer to children from the third month of life.
In 2012 we introduced a product used to treat smoking addiction. Compared to other products used in this type of therapy, we do not contain nicotine. This solution is protected by a patent in Poland and the United States.
We are the first in Poland to introduce a pediatric version of the drug used to treat viral infections. Initially, it was available only on prescription. We have followed the procedure of changing the category to a product available without prescription, demonstrating compliance with the relevant criteria. in terms of safety. This has caused considerable interest in the treatment of viral infections, where the rate of action is very important for treatment.
Since 2012 we have been leading the OTC market [over the counter medicines, medical devices, diet supplements, cosmetics]. We will try to maintain this position by introducing new drugs in this category, even if the trend of the so-called. self-healing. We add additional elements to facilitate accurate self-diagnosis, to ensure patient safety.
What kind for example? For example, appropriate leaflet records that the patient will simply and unequivocally explain to the patient what treatments the product uses and how to use it safely. In the case of an erectile dysfunction, we have included a self-diagnostic test in this leaflet. With a few simple questions, the patient can make a choice and decide whether or not to use the medicine. The questions relate to the state of health and other medicines used by the patient.
Is it idea of Poles or other nationalities? - Definitely a world trend, as indicated by WHO [World Health Organization - Ed.]. In Poland, it is compounded by difficulties in accessing health services. People often have to wait in line for doctors. In the case of simple complaints, you can use over-the-counter medicines before you see a doctor. We must not forget, however, that in the case of self-healing the key issue is patient safety. There is a great responsibility on the part of drug importers, but also pharmacists. Patients must know what are the contraindications, side effects. If symptoms persist, seek medical attention. Unfortunately, in Poland pharmacies do not yet exist in pharmacies, as is the case in other countries. We are strengthening the role of pharmacists in the Polish health service. It would be very helpful in case of self-healing. Pharmacists could take full advantage of their expertise.
Do you think Aflofarm will ever be a big pharmaceutical company? - We are always thinking about this and we aim for it. Today our medicines reach 27 countries. It's not just Europe, but also Asia, the Middle East and the United States. We are currently working on approximately 100 projects. We hope that a large part of them will be successful and will be launched. Our prescription drug market will be a priority in the coming years.
We are also interested in new medicinal substances. This is a very difficult issue. For many years we have been following such projects. We talk to a few scientific centers. These are long-term projects, requiring long-term research and high risk of failure but at the same time with great potential.