Interview with Musli Power Xtra Founder and MD of Kunnath Pharmaceuticals, KC Abraham:
When we met him with our hard questions, he was still to get the favourable court order executed in his favour by Kerala’s Department of Drugs. But KC Abraham showed us a copy of the court order, the legal advice that he has received, as well as a copy of the national level lab test result that disproves adulteration - all of which have already given him his characteristic energy back to take on his detractors head on. Abraham’s plans are getting bigger - to almost unbelievable levels - as he speaks about targets of Rs. 1500 crore turnover, booming demand from overseas, and going public through an IPO. Seasonal Magazine quizzes Kunnath Pharma founder on the future of the controversial ayurvedic formulation he invented:
What do you feel regarding the whole episode of ban and the now possible revocation?
In two simple words, it is the triumph of truth and justice. Musli Power Xtra stuck with those values, and these values saved us at the end of the day.
That is a very general or vague claim. Can you be more clear?
Isn’t it very clear? We have never adulterated our medicine. But some concerned authorities weren’t believing. But our customers knew better. You will be surprised to know the number of calls I personally received from users, on the day the test result was published. Almost all of them said only one thing - we knew Musli Power was clean.
How come they know it?
You don’t understand. These are patients who have tried everything under the sun, and got dejected. These are patients who are suffering from the harmful side-effects of equivalent allopathic drugs. They know better about Musli Power Xtra, that it is effective and clean, free of side effects. But the authorities wanted analytical test results from India’s most well-equipped Government run lab. Now it has come. No tadalafil, sildenafil, or any steroids, as alleged. That is the truth part of this affair.
And the justice part?
Well, some time back we were running from pillar to post, in search for justice. We were alarmed that even a clean, effective product like Musli Power Xtra was being targeted. We told our honest story to many in authority, but we didn’t get justice from any quarters. Not from the state, not from the centre, not from any bureaucrats, not from any politicians. They weren’t just being indifferent. But we finally got justice from the courts. That is why we say that our recent success is the triumph of truth and justice.
But you are still barred from giving advertisements…
Not really. We can give ads but can’t cross the line of the magic remedies act. We welcome that. No one is above law. In fact, even much before this issue was brought up in court, we had revamped our entire ad campaign to strictly adhere to the magic remedies act. Musli Power’s new slogan - ‘For Healthy, Happy Family’ - reflects it.
But even that was challenged in court…
Yes, it was objected to, but it was overruled by the court with some conditions. Musli Power Xtra can use it, as well as two formats of advertisements, and another thing is that in the coming days, Kunnath Pharmaceuticals will vigorously start fighting for our legitimate rights to advertise, as a legal entity that not only stand in no violation of law, but is also a responsible corporate citizen that diligently pays all kind of huge taxes to the state and central governments.
A couple of moments back, you told the authorities were not just being indifferent. Why? Are you repeating that Musli Power Xtra is being targeted? By whom?
I won’t say all the authorities, but definitely, some of them are working on the behest of vested interests. We have always said that MNC pharma companies are behind this whole affair. The sale of allopathic erectile dysfunction drugs like Viagra, Cialis, Levitra and its clones were getting seriously affected due to the popularity of Musli Power Xtra.
But that is just an assumption of yours as the bereaved party, isn’t it?
Let me ask you a question in return. Why has there been no action against so many blatant violations of the drug adulteration rules and the magic remedies act? Simply because, they haven’t been as successful as Musli Power Xtra. The moment your sales surpass certain figures, and start hurting these allopathic monopolies, they will be after you in various guises.
What are your re-launch plans for Musli Power Xtra?
What are your re-launch plans for Musli Power Xtra?
We have already kick-started a re-launch program in New Delhi. A three-month promotional program is being organized as part of the major trade fairs happening there in this season. We are there in the Delhi IITF-2011 at Stall-27 of Kerala Pavilion. This has been the seventh year of our participation in that big fair. Apart from good discounts, the free service of two doctors who are infertility specialists employed by Kunnath, is being provided there. In Kerala, as a first step, our illuminated vehicles announcing our renewed presence in the market, are travelling to all towns. As a re-launch offer, we are also providing 33% capsules extra, free of cost.
What has been your core learning from getting banned and this coming-back-to-life episode?
Number one, entrepreneurial success of anyone is not tolerated at all in Kerala. Number two, any businessman who has been a resounding success in Kerala should be admired above all. Anyone can learn valuable lessons in survival from them. Number three, however nasty or powerful your enemies are, you can survive if you fight for truth and justice. Number four, it is very very important to grow fast, grow exponentially, if you are to protect your brand, your company.
We are already planning to expand our factory facilities, from Kerala, to Rajasthan, where we already have a large presence in farming our herbs. On the farming front too, we will de-risk by expanding to places like Tamilnadu and Karnataka, from just Kerala and Rajasthan. We are considering some huge lands near Ooty and Sirsi-Banavasi. Coming back to the market after a lull, we are moving out from targets of hundreds of crores in turnover to thousands. Within the next five years, Musli Power Xtra will be targeting a turnover of Rs. 1500 crore. Demand is booming from overseas markets, and we are systematically pursuing suitable tie-ups in each country. For the current year, our target is to double from last year’s Rs. 55 crore to around Rs. 100 crore. Kunnath Pharma is also actively planning to become a listed public company by going in for our IPO within the next few years.