Boots to sell Piramal ayurvedic products in Europe

Boots Healthcare International, the £300-million British pharmaceuticals major, is toying with the idea of marketing ayurvedic products in Europe through a range of retail outlets run by -- Boots The Chemist.

The British company is negotiating with Nicholas Piramal India Ltd for marketing a total of 13 products originating from Quest Institute of Life Science, the altered name of Hoechst Research Centre, acquired by the Indian company last year.

Boots officials say that the negotiations are primarily centred round sleep-enhancing products (tranquillisers) developed by Quest Institute along with other ayurvedic preparations. Boots, in turn, would market the entire range under its own brand name.

In the meanwhile, Boots Piramal, a 51:49 joint venture between Boots Healthcare and Nicholas Piramal, has decided to launch a range of skin care products this year for acne, dry skin, psoriasis and eczema. These products belong to the German company Hermal, which has been acquired by Boots.

The joint venture company is also eyeing Brufen, a popular painkiller from Knoll. Boots Piramal has recently applied for the inclusion of ibuprufen, the drug's main ingredient, in the over-the-counter list. Internationally, Boots and Knoll have an agreement for promotion of this drug through different routes. Boots promotes the ibuprofen brand 'Nurofen' through the OTC route while Knoll takes on the ethical route.

If the drug is included in the Indian OTC list, Boots may acquire the drug from Knoll, as it enjoys a high brand recall, and give it to Boots Piramal, company officials said.