Hi Mitch Loo, thank you for doing this interview. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Hello, I’m Mitch Loo, founder of Capsule Pharma Singapore & BELVEA. I have been in the pharmaceuticals industry for over 25 years (since 1995) focusing on sales, product development and brand management. I started Capsule Pharma Singapore more than 15 years ago. Today we are a distribution house managing various international and local healthcare and pharma brands including BELVEA.
What inspired you to set up BELVEA and how did you start up your business?
BELVEA is a specialty brand focusing on niche areas of healthcare products. Our first product – BELVEA Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Formula, was developed around 15 years ago when some of our obstetricians & gynaecologist (O&Gs) in Singapore raised their concerns about the wrong use of over-the-counter (OTC) fish oils for pregnancy. Generally, OTC fish oils are consumed for cardiovascular well-being as because they are high in EPA, has blood-thinning properties. However, supplements with high levels of EPA are unsuitable for pregnancy use. Doctors were concerned that if taken in high doses, the blood-thinning effects will be dangerous if the expectant mother goes into labour, as it may lead to excessive bleeding.
We developed BELVEA Pregnancy & Breastfeeding Formula with the help of a pharmaceutical API (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) manufacturer from the United Kingdom. They provided us with the first triple-molecular distilled fish-body oil for our product. Fish-body oil is a term for fish oil that is certified to be free from fish-liver oil.
That product was a hit amongst private sector O&Gs and was tremendously well received. While it is relatively pricier than most of our competitors, the price concern is outweighed by the product’s benefits. Indeed, there is a price to pay for quality products!
Today, the identical product in the Malaysian market, BELVEA Begin Formula, is proving to be just as sought after, especially from the private sector O&Gs who know the value associated with the product.
We develop our products in consultation with practitioners from the various medical disciplines as most of our products are developed to cater to their requirements. We continue to adopt that direction in our brand portfolio, creating products that medical practitioners themselves will use for their patients and their own family members and loved ones.
Can you tell us more about the range of products BELVEA offers? Who does BELVEA cater to? What is BELVEA’s main demographic like and why?
For the Malaysian market, BELVEA has 3 products approved. They are:
BELVEA Begin Formula – A High-DHA, Low-EPA Fish-Body-Oil Formulation to provide essential DHA for expectant & breastfeeding mothers. This product is a pregnancy and breastfeeding food supplement.
BELVEA Gentle Skin Wash – this is a soap-free, fragrance-free cleanser for users with dry and sensitive skin. Anyone can use this product. Generally, more and more people are developing sensitive skin towards harsh soap-based products because these products contain too many ingredients and fragrances that might cause skin sensitivity and allergic reactions.
BELVEA Moisturising Skin Cream – a simple skin cream with mild ingredients for users with dry skin. It is an ideal basic cream for direct use as a skin moisturiser or as a dilution cream base for other medicated skin creams. Some doctors use this as the base cream for dilution of steroid creams. As a moisturiser, BELVEA Skin Cream can be used by users of any age group, from infants to elderly.
How does BELVEA’s Begin Formula differ from offerings from other bands?
BELVEA Begin Formula is a triple molecular distilled fish-body-oil. Triple molecular distillation is a unique process which is proprietary to our UK API manufacturer. Distillation in itself is a unique method of purification, which is different from the conventional filtration process, commonly used by other oil manufacturers.
BELVEA Begin Formula also uses Fish-Body-Oil, which is certified to be free from fish-liver-oil. The reason for using liver-free oil in BELVEA Begin Formula is because of these concerns:
The function of the liver as a filter of the body’s toxins makes liver oil richer in environmental toxins (such as heavy metals and chemicals, from the ocean)
The availability of vitamin A in liver oils may not be ideal for expectant mothers’ consumption, because they are already taking pregnancy supplements which have vitamin A, milk which could be fortified with vitamin A and other healthy food. High doses of vitamin A is risky, during pregnancy.
What benefits do they serve to expectant and breastfeeding mothers as compared to other fish oil products found in pharmacies?
DHA is an important element for brain and eye development for the fetus. Expectant mothers need at least 200mg of DHA during pregnancy but as modern-day diets lack DHA, hence the need for supplementation. It is important that the mother is supplemented with sufficient amounts of DHA as well since DHA deficiency in the expectant mother’s diet has also been linked to postpartum depression.
Do you have any favourite memories or stories about connecting your products with customers?
The increasing support from the O&Gs in itself is a testament to the products’ value to their patients. Because we do not sell our products directly to end-users (direct to customers), we do not get direct feedback from patients. That said, we do receive good feedback from the clinics.
What can we expect to see from you and BELVEA brand in the near future?
BELVEA will continue to develop condition-specific-products that are required by medical practitioners for their patients. When doctors trust our products, patients can be assured that the products’ benefits are not hearsay.
We want to thank you again for the interview. For our readers who might be interested to learn more about BELVEA, where can they contact you?
Interested readers may obtain further information on the BELVEA range from their medical practitioners and doctors. For more information, they can also head down to our website at www.belvea.com. Thank you for your time as well! We really appreciate the write-up and interest in our brand and company and hope to serve the community further!