Duopharma, Shopee expect increasing demand for Vitamin C amid Covid-19

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 19): Malaysia’s leading pharmaceutical company Duopharma Biotech Bhd expects increasing demand for its range of Vitamin C due to rising awareness on the importance of maintaining health among Malaysians during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company said Vitamin C sales under its Consumer Healthcare (CHC) business have outpaced that of other supplements, as well as over-the-counter products, accounting for about 20% of the group’s total revenue.

“Under the CHC business, the sales of Duopharma Biotech’s Vitamin C range under the Flavettes and Champs brands continued to thrive during the Covid-19 pandemic period due to high level of awareness among consumers on the need to strengthen their immune system.

“However, the CHC business team has always been proactive in enabling all products under the CHC business to contribute equally to the group’s total revenue,” the company told Bernama in an interview via email on the increase in Vitamin C demand and sales since the Covid-19 outbreak.

Hence, Duopharma, a Malaysian pioneer in halal accredited health and wellness products since 1999, will produce more innovative CHC products this year by using more advanced technologies to capitalise on consumers’ positive attitude to a healthy lifestyle.

On the supply of Vitamin C, the company, which has three core businesses, assured that it has sufficient capacity to meet the growing demand.

“All our Vitamin brands are produced at our factory in Bangi, Selangor. Duopharma Biotech manufacturing and marketing teams work together to ensure sufficient raw and packaging materials to meet increasing demand for Vitamin C products,” it said.

Duopharma Biotech’s three core businesses are classic ethical products (prescribed medicine which are supplied directly to hospitals), special ethical products (prescription drugs focused on four types of diseases, namely cancer, kidney, heart and diabetes, which are supplied directly to hospitals), and CHC products (dietary supplement products and vitamins, which are supplied to pharmacies and licensed stores such as supermarkets).

As the pioneer halal medicine manufacturer, the CHC Duopharma Biotech team also ensures that every CHC product is manufactured in accordance with the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia’s (JAKIM) procedures and conditions of the Malaysia Halal certification.

“This enables the company to obtain halal certification for our CHC products. The manufacturing process and supply chain of Duopharma Biotech products go through the concept of ‘Halal Built-In. Not Tested For’.

“This concept emphasises on halal requirements from the beginning, i.e. from ensuring that the raw materials used have halal certification, logistics and warehousing and so on that meet the needs of halal pharmaceuticals, so that there is no element that could give rise to doubt in terms of halal purity of our products,” it said.

Currently, all CHC Duopharma Biotech products have received JAKIM’s halal certification and have been marketed to Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Malaysian e-commerce platform Shopee said Vitamin C is one of the top selling products in the supplements category on its platform, which has seen considerable growth since the Covid-19 outbreak.

Its regional managing director Ian Ho said the spike in sales shows that consumers are taking proactive measures towards their general well-being.

“We have observed a significant 50% increase in demand for health supplements such as Vitamin C since the Covid-19 outbreak compared to the pre-pandemic period.

“This consumer behaviour pattern includes rising demand for kids’ vitamins such as chewable, as parents stay committed to boosting their children’s immune system, especially now that schools have reopened,” he said.

Ho said Shopee is also working closely with suppliers from multiple channels, including pharmacies and official brands since the onset of the Movement Control Order (MCO) to ensure enough supply to meet the demand for health supplements.

This is to provide Malaysians with health-related products to help them maintain their health during the period.

“During the MCO period, vitamin brands were given more exposure and featured via curated campaigns, together with other essential supplements.

“This is to better inform Malaysians, as well as to make it easier for them to purchase these products from the platform as the country practises physical distancing to curb the spread of Covid-19,” he said.

Nevertheless, Ho said as an e-commerce platform, Shopee remains committed to helping users navigate these challenging times and get back on the road to recovery.

“We do this through various initiatives and efforts by working closely with sellers, partners, as well as government agencies to ensure essential products are accessible to all as we adapt to the new normal.

“We truly appreciate the interest in this particular area. However, our focus remains ensuring Malaysians have convenient access to the products they need, especially in these trying times,” he added.–The Edge

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