Thursday, February 9, 2012

"Musli Power X-Tra is Now Stronger, Thanks to the Court Case"

KC Abraham, Founder & MD, Kunnath Pharma
Earlier customers had to rely only on his word. But thanks to a court-directed analytical test, which KC Abraham believes to be instigated by some powerful lobbies, now the controversial product’s purity is attested by the best authorized analytical lab in India. Kunnath Pharmaceuticals’ Founder is rapidly trying to cover lost ground in the past 18 months, and his first major win has come when a global distributor started selling Musli Power X-Tra in overseas markets like USA, UK, Canada, Australia, & New Zealand. New customized packs are already being made available in several Middle East countries too.

You have recently obtained two court verdicts in your favour. First, can you explain the first of these orders?

Yes, through the first order we obtained the permission from court to manufacture and sell Musli Power Extra, as was the situation before all these allegations were raked up more than one and a half years back.

So, what was the need for the second case you filed in High Court?

Well, before that, let me explain the follow-up action in the first case. After obtaining the first order, we had approached the concerned government departments to get the court order executed, so that we can resume manufacture and sale of Musli Power X-Tra. But they dragged the procedures so long that, anyone except me would have decided to wind up the operation.

Do you see any malafide intentions behind these, from the concerned departments?

Revengeful intentions were there, but not necessarily from the departments or officers. I suspect that the losing parties in the case were continually warning some officers against executing the court order in favour of Musli Power Extra. Finally, the order was executed only when it was made clear to the officers that they will have to face contempt of court action.

What do you think is the motivation behind all these?

You may not believe this, but all through my life as an entrepreneur in this state, I have been threatened for only one thing - extracting money. So, whatever high causes are being extolled, I think the litigators are after money. Or some other influential groups are behind them, like Musli Power X-Tra's business competitors. But as most past blackmailers have found out, I have been a hard nut to crack. I come from the grassroots, and I have that courage that comes only from someone coming up from below. If there is nothing to be blackmailed in what we do, we can’t be blackmailed at all. It is as simple as that. Whatever garb these litigators come in, they have realized this thing.

Come back to the need for the second case…

Yes, that happened because, the concerned department didn’t execute the order properly. They added a clause to our licence that we can’t advertise and if we do so, the licence will be cancelled. According to Section 33N, state government cannot impose any conditional clauses while giving licence to ayurvedic drugmakers. That authority is vested only with the central government. We promptly went to court on that, and that was the second case. Now, the court has ruled that we can advertise, subject to their earlier conditions. They also withheld Musli Power Extra's free sale certificate even after the first order, but yesterday we have obtained the free sale certificate too.

But this advertising angle was always there, isn’t it? That you can’t advertise against the magic remedies act? Maybe the government was only trying to enforce it?

Not at all. Musli Power X-Tra was already compliant of the magic remedies act, and especially so since we started advertising as per the earlier court order. So, this was a totally irresponsible act on the part of the government. I believe that they were misguided by these pressure groups, and they failed in the court.

So, you are back on the marketing track, with full force?

Yes, very much. They tried to kill the product with a protracted legal battle. But in the final assessment we came out with flying colours. Thanks to their malafide intention, our product went through the most rigorous check for purity, quality etc and we came out with flying colours. Musli Power Extra is now stronger than before. The top government lab says the product is pure, and that too in a court-directed process. Customers don’t have to take only my word for it now.

But don’t you think the brand got affected?

No, and that is the wonder. They were really gunning for the brand, thinking that if the brand is finished, I am finished. But a genuine brand rarely dies that way. There still is robust demand for Musli Power X-Tra, and only the supply side needs to be beefed up. Frankly, we too were surprised by this rebound, once the lab results and court order came in our favour.

What about your overseas expansions? Will they be attended to again?

We have already tied up with a large US based global distributor who has started selling our Musli Power Extra in advanced markets like USA, UK, Canada, Australia, & New Zealand. They use effective use of technology mediums like television, web, mobile etc, and we are most bullish from the initial responses we have started getting from these markets. New customized packs are already being made available in several Middle East countries too.

Looking back at the allegations and its aftermath, how do you assess your brand strategy? What did you do right?

Well, we did many things right, but the one strategy that stands out is that I was bold enough to offer a reward of Rs. 5 Crore for anyone proving that Musli Power X-Tra contained any of the alleged allopathic adulterants. It was a public announcement that was made in a well-attended press conference in New Delhi and carried by almost all newspapers, television channels, magazines, and web portals, across the country and abroad. But nobody, not even our strongest detractors or even the researchers who raked up this issue came forward to claim the reward. Later, I doubled the reward to Rs. 10 crore to entice anyone with conviction to come forward. Still no one. I was that sure about Musli Power Extra.

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