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Natural Remedies for Uzbekistan

Nika Pharm Servis GmbH based in Tashkent is a producer and distributor of medicines and food supplements. The company owns OXYmed, the largest and most modern pharmacy chain in the country, and further firms in the field of pharmaceutics. 500 of the roughly 700 employees work in the pharmacies. Together, they generated about 200 million euros in turnover in 2018 and contributed to improving healthcare in the country. Managing Director Aziza Hudayberdieva visited Germany in 2018 within the framework of the MP, with the aim of finding new products to expand OXYmed’s range, particularly with regard to natural medicines, which are also becoming increasingly popular in Uzbekistan.

“Biomedicine and demand for natural medicines are gaining ground in our country too”, says Hudayberdieva. Nika Pharm Servis has been cooperating with a German manufacturer of herbal medi­cines, which is primarily known for its natural remedies, since 2015 within the scope of the “Phytothek” (phytophar­macy) project. This is a specifically des­ignated area within a pharmacy which specialises in selling herbal medicinal products and providing advice on their use. In Germany, there are more than 900 phyto­pharmacies and business with natural medicinal products is also doing well in Uzbekistan. Nika Pharm Servis sets up five phytopharmacies every year. The personnel for these phytopharmacies is regularly trained by experts in Germany. “We attach great importance to the pro­fessional competence of our employees and a high-quality range – and that is why our customers come to us”, says Hudayberdieva. To strengthen the co­operation with the pharmaceutical man­ufacturer, she met with company repre­sentatives in Germany and presented a suggestion regarding the production of medicinal products under licence in Uz­bekistan, which is now awaiting agree­ment between the management of the respective firms.

And an energy tonic that is popular in Germany could soon find its way into the pharmacy network in the largest Central Asian consumer market: The product has developed into a brand name for an entire own range of health-trend items. Hudayberdieva met with the manufac­turer in Germany to discuss the pos­sibilities of exporting to Uzbekistan and also of an exclusive distribution partner­ship. Now the first step is an analysis of the top-selling products. “In Germany calcium and magnesium supplements sell well, but it would be rash to include them in our production line. We must first see what sells well in Russia and Kazakhstan because the market there is more similar to the Uzbek market and we will base our activities on their top sellers”, says Hudayberdieva, describing the firm’s sales strategy.

Expansion of Production
Hudayberdieva also had talks with a pharmaceutical company in Hamburg which manufactures innovative food supplements. They discussed both the import of articles and manufacturing under licence. “The problem with im­porting is that, unlike medicines, food supplements are subject to high cus­toms duties and that pushes prices up”, the 38-year-old business manager says. Therefore, Nika Pharm Servis has plans to expand and modernise its production fa­cilities in the future. To that end, Huday­berdieva met with a trading company in Baden-Württemberg. This firm provides advice for the purchase and financing of equipment. Through this firm, Nika Pharm’s management is currently analys­ing the purchasing options of packaging machinery and laboratory equipment.

Growing Pharmacy Network
At the moment, there are 130 OXYmed pharmacies in Uzbekistan, of which 90 are in the capital Tashkent alone. More­over, Nika Pharm Servis has also been running franchising pharmacies since 2018 under the Domaschnaja Apteka brand name. In 2019, roughly 10 new pharmacies are to be set under the fran­chising model, particularly in rural re­gions. Consequently, Nika Pharm Servis is contributing to addressing the needs in isolated areas and the country’s small towns, some of which still have consid­erable deficiencies with regard to the provision of healthcare

Pictures: ©Nika Pharm Servis