Trima’s products include Tesopalmed Yohimbine, a prescription drug for impotence that is a fraction of the price of more famous drugs for erectile dysfunction like Viagra.What do sexually anxious Nigerian tribal chiefs, follicly-challenged men from Singapore, and psoriasis sufferers in Thailand have in common? They’re all being helped by medications produced by an Israeli company.
Trima – owned in part by Kibbutz Maabarot near Netanya in the center of the country – produces a wide range of ethical and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals which includes tablets, capsules, liquids, creams and ointments. Their products include Tesopalmed Forte Cum Yohimbine, a prescription drug for impotence that is a fraction of the price of more famous drugs for erectile dysfunction like Viagra.
Recently, the company made some headlines when, according to the company’s Export and Business Development executive Asgad Dor, a Nigerian tribal chief seeking to please his harem, ordered tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of the drug.
The deal came about, Dor told ISRAEL21c, after Trima’s Nigerian agent in Lagos – also a tribal chief – used the drug himself. Pleased at the results with his many wives, he then passed the word around, which led to the large order.
“The feedback’s been excellent, we’re happy that it was successful,” said Dor.
Trima is the only company in the world to make the non-patented drug, which has been produced in Israel since the 1930s with Yohimbe – the bark of a tall evergreen tree known as Pausinystalia yohimbe or Corynanthe yohimbe. Yohimbe bark has been used for centuries in some western African nations for healthy support of erectile function.
The active compound in Yohimbe is an alkaloid called Yohimbine, which functions to increase levels of the neurotransmitter, norepinephrine. Yohimbine also acts as a central nervous system stimulator and may increase energy levels and promote fat oxidation. Dor said that Trima imports the raw yohimbe bark and produces the capsules in the company’s plant.
But Yohimbe is just one example of Trima’s scope. A market leader in dermatological preparations, several of its cough and cold preparations as well as gastroenterology products are brand leaders in their respective fields. According to Dor, in addition to Nigeria and other African countries, the company currently exports mainly to the Far East.
“We have dozens of agents in countries like Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and soon we’ll be entering South Korea and Vietnam,” he said, adding that the company recently receives a large order for its topical psoriasis ointment Topisalen from Thailand. And an evergreen product in Singapore is Minoxi 5, a preparation intended to stimulate hair growth in balding areas of the scalp.
“For some reason, Minoxi 5 is very popular there,” said Dor, adding that the company is not ignoring the United States or the European market. “We’re starting the process of updating our regulatory files with the FDA and CE in order to enter those markets.”
The expansion is in line with the history of Trima’s growth into the healthy company it is today. Founded in the 1930s as the Palestine Pharmaceutical Company by – among others – the future first president of Israel Chaim Weizman, the present-day company came into being in the early 1960s when Kibbutz Maabarot, looking to diversify away from its traditional agricultural roots and into industrial manufacture, acquired the factory.
“About three years ago, half the company was bought by e private investors, and now it’s a 50/50 split,” said Dor, adding that about 40 % of Trima’s 140-member staff are kibbutz members, while the remaining 60% – like Dor – are hired from the outside.
“Even though there’s that split, there’s still more of a social, family feeling at Trima, than at a totally private company,” he said.
Trima supplies its products to all of the major sectors of the Israeli market including private pharmacies, health funds, Ministry of Health hospitals and the medical corps of the Israel Defense Forces. According to Dor, the company is involved in a number of ongoing projects with some of Israel’s leading academic institutes, including the School of Pharmacy of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Trima also operates a unit responsible for the initiation and monitoring of clinical trials, conducted at leading teaching hospitals.
The Kibbutz Maabarot industrial complex includes another manufacturing facility, Maabarot Products, which works in close cooperation with Trima. Its main claim to fame is for manufacturing Israel’s leading brand of infant formula – Materna – many cases of which were shipped last month to aid in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.
Throughout its diversification, the kibbutz’s presence in Trima has provided it with a strong, stable base. And thanks to the efforts of Dor and his team of agents, tribal chiefs in Nigeria and balding men in Singapore are getting the goods delivered.