By Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis
Plaudits came the way of Novartis Pharmaceuticals Limited as the company celebrates 40 years of Voltaren (Diclofenac sodium), one of its foremost products.
Speaking at a colourful ceremony to mark the landmark achievement at Protea Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos on October 23, 2013, Pharm. (Mrs) Vera Nwanze, managing director of Novartis Pharma stressed that the company was pleased to announce the product’s 40-year success story.
She described Voltaren as a class of medications known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that reduce pain, swelling, and inflammation for people with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and degenerative joint diseases of the hip.
Speaking in the same vein, Dr Adebule Gbolahan, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and chairman of the occasion, commended Novartis’ effort at raising the standard and sustaining the quality of its products, especially Voltaren, over the course of its 40-year reign.
Gbolahan who was a former chief medical director at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Lagos, noted that many people – especially colleagues and patients often ask him why he preferred prescribing Voltaren ahead of other brands of diclofenac sodium.
“I never fail to tell whoever cares to listen that Voltaren is a product I can identify with easily because of its efficacy over the years,” he declared.”I am not saying this because I happen to be the chairman of today’s event. It is a fact! I would have even loved to have the presence of physiotherapists in this place to corroborate what I am saying.”
On his part, Prof. Femi Adelowo, consultant physician and rheumatologist, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, relived to the audience how he cut his teeth as a rheumatologist in London around 1973, almost the same time Voltaren test was being conducted through random sampling on some animals to ensure its efficiency.
“Ever since it came into the market, Voltaren has wormed its way into the health of health officials” he attested.”I congratulate Novartis Pharma on her success so far in the area of pain management.”
Expressing gratitude for the numerous accolades showered on Novartis Pharma, Pharm. Oluwole Ajao, head of marketing (Established Medicines) of the company, emphasised that Voltaren (diclofenac sodium) had taken care of unmet needs in pain and arthritis management.
While explaining that the benefits of diclofenac outweighed the risk, Wole however conceded that the key challenge in the society remained the absence of an NSAID that could completely wipe out chronic pain and arthritis.
According to him, the coming of Voltaren, available in oral, gel and ophthalmic solutions, had given birth to other sister brands like Cataflam, Flotac and VoltFast, and presently available in 140 countries worldwide.
Other eminent health professionals at the event include Prof. Olayemi Sunday, consultant physician and clinical pharmacologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH); and Pharm. (Mrs) Nike Adekoya, chief pharmacist, LUTH. Also in attendance were scores of doctors, pharmacists and nurses.