An expert Clinical Pharmacologist and Pharmaceutical Physician, Dr. Anish Desai has 3-decade experience in academia, research, and the healthcare industry. Holding a senior management position for the last 20 years and involved in strategic decision making, he has excelled his expertise with India’s leading multinational healthcare organisations like Johnson & Johnson India, Bayer Schering Pharma India, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd & Unichem Laboratories.

With an idea to provide healthcare companies with a scientific edge to gain a competitive advantage, Dr. Anish Desai established IntelliMed Healthcare Solutions in 2019, thus venturing into areas like strategic medical affairs for business growth, thereby infusing science into marketing. Besides all, he is also been a reputable member of revered organisations such as the American College of Clinical Pharmacology (USA), Royal Society of Medicine (London), Society of Pharmaceutical Medicine (UK), Clinical Research Professionals (USA). He has been a recipient of the prestigious Charles R. Ream “Award of excellence”; and the “U.K. Sheth Award” for his stupendous work in the area of research.

In an interaction with Rajeev Biswas, Sr. Sub Editor, from Sportz Business Fitness Magazine, Dr. Anish Desai, MD. FCP. PGDHEP Director, Intellimed Healthcare Solutions, shares the marketing trend of sports nutrition and nutraceutical products. Let’s read him and find out what he has to say.

Q Dr Desai, kindly share some of your experiences while working with India’s leading multinational healthcare organisations like Johnson & Johnson India, Bayer Schering Pharma India, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd & Unichem Laboratories?

Working with large healthcare companies helps you look at the healthcare ecosystem holistically. You need to address the concerns of all the healthcare stakeholders like the Patients. Physicians, Providers and Policymakers/Payers. We need to look at the healthcare drivers, namely Awareness, Adoption, Accessibility and Affordability which are responsible for the dynamism of the healthcare industry. Patents are at the centre of all the activities we do. Education and training forms an important aspect of the activities. Addressing the issues in the entire care continuum and shaping the same is critical. Scientific Data is necessary to be used for product differentiation and the dissemination needs to be done diligently. Top notch companies in healthcare stress on life cycle management of therapy areas and new innovative products form an important part of the strategy.

NutraceuticalsQ How do you see the need for Sports and active nutrition in the current volatile market of India?

The domestic sports nutrition market is currently witnessing a surge in sales. Sports nutrition products like supplements, sports drinks, energy bars and protein powders are available in the market. These products are mainly consumed by active adults, professional and other Gym goers and diverse sportsmen/ women to maintain fitness. Nutrition helps to reduce the effects of injury, fatigue and delayed recovery and helps in achieving a specific diet plan to improve body composition. Consequently, there is a trend among athletes and normal individuals for the use of these products.

Q As the pandemic has drastically hit the fitness industry, in such a scenario, according to you what would be the future of the growing global workout supplement market?

Awareness for health and the importance of fitness and sports, combined with the increasing number of Gyms and fitness centres, is one of the factors fuelling the market growth in India for sports nutrition. Also, the increasing awareness about the detrimental effects of synthetic ingredients in supplements and nutritional drinks is influencing the demand for safe and effective evidenced based sports nutrition products. Additionally, the principle players are launching innovative product ranges with sugar free variants to broaden their consumer coverage. Consequent to the outbreak of pandemic due to coronavirus (COVID-19) individuals have been encouraged to include supplements and nutritional/ nutraceutical products to their regular diets and protect the body from virus-related infections. Immunity boosters have been one of the nutraceutical products that have been in focus. These factors will contribute to the growth of the industry in coming years. Awareness and quality products based on evidence will be the key to this growth. Awareness and Education also will be critical for the same.

healthQ According to you how plant-based protein supplement market can create a breakthrough in the supplement industry?

Globally the Plant-Based Protein Supplements Market is expected to reach $9.57 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 7.8% during the forecast period of 2020 to 2027. (https://www. proteinsupplements-market-5143) Plant-Based Protein Supplements Market by Type (Soy Protein, Rice Protein), Form (Powder, RTD), Application (Sports Nutrition, Additional Nutrition), and Distribution Channel (Hypermarket/Supermarket, E-Commerce, Pharmacies) – Global Forecast To 2027). Protein supplements derived and processed from diverse individual plant sources are classified as plant-based protein supplement. Soy, pea, chickpea, brown rice, constitute some of the known and important plant-based sources for plant-based protein supplements. Awareness regarding the benefits of health supplements and predominance of vegan/vegetarian population are some factors that are driving market for the plant-based protein supplements. Additionally, awareness for health, rise in disposable income, and awareness for chemicalfree quality products are the factors that have driven market growth. Increased obesity rate all over the world, growth in health issues especially cardio-metabolic, asthma, etc. have enhanced the health awareness among general population.

Q The current pandemic has taught us to take our immunity seriously, how you see the role of Nutraceutical products to cope with immune deficit issues?

 Nutraceuticals such as active phytochemicals, functional foods, and dietary supplements have medicinal properties and a variety of health benefits. Nutraceuticals play a very important role in boosting immunity without impacting natural defence mechanism. Important nutraceuticals such as vitamin C, zinc, selenium, beta 1,3/1,6 glucan and echinacea, have documented evidence in boosting the immunity of human body system. Nutraceuticals have an important role in the treatment of COVID-19 therapy. These novel bioactive molecules with therapeutic action play a critical role in viral infections such as COVID-19. In COVID-19, the use of nutraceuticals as adjunctive therapy may be beneficial in the treatment or prevention of illness. They may be beneficial as supportive therapy. Multiple nutraceuticals have already proved their activity against viral infections and other species of coronaviruses. Only a few nutraceuticals have been clinically studied in Covid-19. They may be beneficial in reducing the severity of illness.

medicineQ How the consumer behaviour in the country is transforming the nutraceutical space?

According to the All-India Organization of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) – AWACS report, Indians bought almost Rs 15,000-crore worth of vitamin supplements and other immunity boosters in Jan 2020- May 2021, more than the preceding year, as demand of drugs related to Covid-19 treatment increased, directly and indirectly. Among nutraceuticals, Vitamin D, Vitamin C and Zinc are on the top of the list since they help in managing Covid-19 and prevent severe infection. Data suggests that even healthy snacks, protein bread and whey protein have seen a sharp rise in demand. Several nutraceuticals are being used today for not just anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune-boosting action, but also for preventing the side-effects of medicines and detoxifying the body. Demand for nutraceuticals like ginger, garlic, curcumin, selenium, astaxanthin, polyphenols and probiotics has been growing.

The evolving consumer behaviour including changing lifestyle and increasing awareness are the main consumer-related behaviours transforming the nutraceutical market. The pandemic has given a further boost to the nutraceutical industry, with a focus on prevention and general well-being.


The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a health advice. We would ask you to consult a qualified professional or medical expert to gain additional knowledge before you choose to consume any product or perform any exercise.


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