Larisa Prokopyeva: "We have been and remain a 'people's' company"

In the past year, Evalar celebrates its 32nd anniversary. In our interview with Larisa Alexandrovna Prokopyeva, the founder and CEO of the pharmaceutical holding Evalar, we discussed what the company is currently focused on, its development, and the successes it has achieved in 2023.


Experts in Phytotherapy

- Larisa Alexandrovna, we know that Evalar is an expert in the field of phytotherapy. Can you tell us how much herbal remedies are in demand today?

- We see a consistent global increase in the popularity of such remedies. For instance, Future Market Insights experts predicted a continuous interest in the phytopharmaceutical market for the next 10 years, up to 20331. This is due to the growing awareness and demand from consumers for natural remedies. Why is it like that? Firstly, the current popularity of phytopharmaceuticals is a reaction to the rapid development in the 20th century of the synthesis and production of chemically synthesised remedies with their side effects. It's evident that herbal medicines act noticeably more gently, do not cause sharp side effects, and are easier to tolerate. Secondly, the popularity began to grow due to the active promotion of a healthy lifestyle in modern society. Many people have become more conscious about their food, drink, and what kind of cosmetic products they use. This trend has not bypassed our products. Thirdly, the popularity of phytopharmaceuticals is boosted by the development of modern pharmaceutical technologies, which open entirely new possibilities for the use of biologically active substances of plant origin.

- Yet, many people still, when they hear the word "phytopharmaceuticals," imagine boxes with calming teas... What technologies are we talking about? 

- Modern pharmaceutical production, such as Evalar, possesses modern technological capabilities for working with herbal medicinal raw materials. For example, we use a unique Swiss steam sterilisation system. With the use of it we can accomplish a brief steam heating process of the raw materials, destroying thermolabile microbes without causing harm to the active substances of the plants. We also have an innovative equipment that enables the gentle production of high-quality native extracts under deep vacuum conditions. High temperatures are the main factor in the destruction of biologically active substances. Our equipment allows us to carry out extraction processes at temperatures as low as 40–50 degrees. 

Today, Evalar offers products with highly active extracts produced using a unique supercritical CO2 extraction technology. These have a balanced qualitative and quantitative composition closely resembling the natural plant composition, exhibiting high biological activity. The Evalar Laboratory collection represents a new generation of nutraceuticals, developed by a team of doctors, researchers, nutritionists, and technologists to the highest international GMP quality standards in modern pharmaceutical production facilities. Produced for the Russian and international markets by Evalar SASU in Paris, France, the line was introduced at the ARAB HEALTH exhibition in Dubai in January and presented at the "Future Aesthetic Medicine. Trends of 2023" beauty forum in Moscow in April. 

Evalar Laboratory stands out for scientifically grounded formulas with high nutrient dosages with maximum bioavailability, and pharmaceutical-grade quality. Nutrients are selected based on the analysis of hundreds of recent clinical studies, reviews from scientists practising at RUDN University and the International Nutraceutical Society. Each formula undergoes laboratory testing before reaching the production line, ensuring the creation of effective formulas to support the body. This "laboratory" approach explains the use of the term "Laboratory" in the brand name. Currently, Evalar Laboratory offers supplements for thyroid health, cognitive functions, immunity, reproductive systems for both women and men, and many more. This year, the collection was expanded with some new products like the natural nootropic "Hericium Erinaceus 300 mg," natural tranquilizer “GABA 500 mg”, innovative anti-stress complexes "Cortisol Control" and "Stress Control," a special form of magnesium protecting the brain from age-related changes called "Magnesium L-Threonate," and that is not all!

Evalar In 2023: numbers and facts

 • Evalar was Awarded as the best food supplement company by the "Dietary Supplements of the Year 2023" committee2.
 • Ranked among the top 10 fastest-growing companies in the pharmaceutical commercial market for the first 10 months of 20233.
 • Became the number one brand in sales on major marketplaces Ozon and Wildberries in the first half of 2023 introduced by the company MoneyPlace4.
 • Evalar's FITOMARKET was recognized as the Marketplace of the Year in the "Health and Beauty Solutions" category at the Digital Leaders Award5.
 • Evalar Laboratory's innovative nutrient collection was presented at ARAB HEALTH in Dubai and the "Future Aesthetic Medicine. Trends of 2023" beauty forum.
 • The "Marine Collagen Super Complex" won the Voice Beauty Awards 2023 in the "Beauty Trend" category6.
 • Awarded the best Russian doctors with a "Vocation" diploma for the invaluable contribution to supporting the achievements of Russian medicine.
 • Successfully launched an app FITOMARKET, which is now available at Google Play and AppStore.
 • Was rewarded by the premium “Best for Russia. Region Development” in the category “Natural resources and ecology” with a project “Let’s save the unique nature of the Altai region together. Following the snow leopard”7.

- Evalar is positioning itself as a full-cycle enterprise, how do you explain that? 

- Positioning itself as a full-cycle enterprise, Evalar cultivates medicinal herbs, processes them, extracts, manufactures supplements, and packages the final products. This approach arose from the realisation that high-quality herbs on the market were scarce, and by managing the entire process, they could ensure better quality. Evalar cultivates around 40 plant species on their own eco-friendly 1000-hectare plantations in the Altai foothills, combining extensive experience in botany and agrotechnics. This includes a proprietary seed bank, crucial for adapting plants to the region and accumulating bioactive compounds. Exotic plants that are not adaptable to the region are sourced from leading global suppliers.

Our big pride is Evalar's licensed production of dry extracts from plant raw materials, meeting international GMP quality standards and European Pharmacopoeia requirements. In the context of the strategic goal of import substitution, Evalar successfully replaced supplies of several plant extracts from the Western countries. 

- You mentioned GMP. Evalar was one of the first companies in our country to establish production complying with the requirements of this international quality standard. How do you see the role of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for the national pharmaceutical industry, including the segment of dietary supplements?

- The company consistently implements a policy on the quality and safety of its products, evidenced by ISO 9001:2015, ISO 22000 (HACCP) certificates, and the international GMP certificate for dietary supplement production. This is not mere formality. We undergo regular audits, confirming compliance with over 200 quality and safety assessment points for manufacturing processes, raw materials, and finished products.

Since its inception, Evalar has prioritized quality in its products. Standards not only enable quality management but also maintain operational control and order throughout the enterprise at all production levels. It is primarily about discipline and consistent results.

- 32 years in the market of natural remedies – When and why was the decision made to include not only dietary supplements but also pharmaceuticals in the product range?

- Since the founding of Evalar in 1991, it was decided that the company would focus on natural plant-based remedies, including medicinal ones. We have held a pharmaceutical activity license since 1991 and began producing medicinal remedies back then. These were herbal medicinal products - herbal briquettes, infusions, elixirs. In the mid-90s, when it became clear that the dietary supplement market was becoming the most attractive and rapidly growing, the company decided to concentrate on this segment.

Today, around 80% of the company's turnover comes from dietary supplements, while over 20% is attributed to medicinal remedies. The opening of the second production complex in 2019 significantly boosted the development of the pharmaceutical portfolio. In this complex, we localised the production of medicinal remedies, including synthetic pharmaceuticals and remedies based on plant raw materials. Herbal remedies now constitute a significant part of our portfolio, distinguishing us uniquely in the market.

- What was the most challenging aspect in terms of entering the pharmaceutical market? 

- The most challenging aspect is always that in any new market, nobody is expecting you, and you have to earn trust every time, proving that you can work qualitatively and effectively. In general, we succeeded in this. Research data indicates that the dynamics of purchases of medicinal remedies under the Evalar brand grew by 38% in the first 10 months of 2023. 

- What goals does the company set for itself in terms of developing the pharmaceutical assortment? 

- Evalar has always been and remains a "people's" company. Today, one in three Russian citizens trusts their health to Evalar. Therefore, our goal is to expand access to quality remedies at more affordable prices compared to foreign counterparts. For a long time, consumers did not have such a choice. Now, much has changed: technologies and our pharmaceutical experience allow us to reproduce any high-quality remedies, compete with imports, and not depend on foreign supplies.


- What medicines can Evalar offer to Russian consumers today?

- As of today, one of the key development vectors for the company is working with over-the-counter (OTC) medicinal remedies. Our main goal is to create an opportunity for patients to access affordable therapy clinically equivalent to Western counterparts. Our pharmaceutical portfolio includes 24 remedies capable of substituting foreign products with price advantages for consumers. Among plant-based medicinal remedies, we have long-established brands that firmly hold leading positions in their categories. For instance, the product for treating menopausal disorders "C Clim" or the herbal remedy for improving cerebral circulation "Ginkoum." Traditionally, we pay significant attention to reproductive health, both female and male. We have strengthened our position as a producer in this category, thanks to the successful market entry of the product for treating urological infections "Nefrosten." A source of pride for us is the production of a cholagogue of plant origin called "Hoficin," which consists of artichoke. Importantly, we managed to adapt the Mediterranean plant to the Altai region's conditions, and now this medicinal remedy is entirely produced from our own raw materials.

Additionally, we consistently develop our line of remedies for the treatment and prevention of respiratory infections under the brand "ORVIS." Our remedy "ORVIS Rhino" for acute and chronic sinusitis therapy became an affordable alternative to the German product, with savings up to 80% in price8.

- Recent research shows that people are actively switching to Russian drugs. Is this due to growing trust in our manufacturers or a desire for cost savings?

- I think it's both. Certainly, trust is increasing as people gain successful experiences with domestic supplements. Today, the level of equipment in Russian pharmaceutical production9 and the technologies used allow us to create full analogs of imported products, often noticeably more affordable for consumers.

For example, our supplement "ORVIS Rhino" and "Nefrosten" are included by the Ministry of Health in the List of Interchangeable Medicines concerning Western counterparts – and this is very important. This is also crucial in overcoming stereotypes existing among consumers, and often pharmacists, regarding Russian supplements.

- Does Evalar work on creating original medicinal remedies?

- Absolutely. Here, I cannot fail to mention the growth leader product, which we are particularly proud of – the original patented10 over-the-counter product "Glycine+Melatonin Evalar" in the convenient form of sublingual tablets. This product has a dual effect: it reduces anxiety and speeds up falling asleep. I believe that the trend for maintaining mental health and, as a result, the demand for sedative remedies, will persist. For us, this is one of the priority directions since the ability to combine work, personal life, sleep periods, and wakefulness in our time is essential for achieving inner harmony, psychological comfort, and efficiency. 

In Dialogue with Doctors

- How does Evalar currently build its relationship with the medical community, and how significant is this for the company?

- It is very significant, and we consistently develop interaction with practising doctors. Trust from specialists is important for us, so in 2023, we not only participated in federal-scale industry scientific and practical events (for example, the XXIV All-Russian Scientific and Educational Forum "Mother and Child," as well as the VII Congress of Obstetricians-Gynaecologists of Russia in memory of Academician G.M. Savelieva, XIV Congress of the Russian Urological Society, and XXII Congress of the Russian Society of Urology), but also launched a series of our own scientific conferences for practising doctors from the regions of Russia. These conferences took place both offline and online. More than 20,000 doctors throughout the country had the opportunity to meet with specialists at the federal level, current employees of leading research organisations, gain access to new scientific knowledge, and advanced clinical practices. This will influence the quality of medical care at the local level.

Additionally, we invite doctors to our facilities, where we share and demonstrate how we work with plants, showcase our advanced technologies, and highlight the level of quality control in production. Judging by the feedback, our guests are impressed by the scale of our production and the technological solutions we employ. 

- The New Year is just around the corner. What would you like to wish our readers? 

- First and foremost, of course, good health, as well as harmony, inner peace, and optimism.

- Thank you for the conversation! See you soon!

1 Electronic resource:  https://www.futuremarketinsights.com/reports/herbal-medicinal-products-market (the reference date: 20.12.2023)
2 Electronic resource:  https://baa-conf.ru/about/premiya-bad-goda-2023/ (the reference date: 20.12.2023)
3 According to AlphaRM data for the period of 10 months 2023
4 Electronic resource:  https://moneyplace.io/trendy-i-novosti/kak-ustroen-rynok-badov-na-wildberries-i-ozon-issledovanie-mo... (the reference date: 20.12.2023)
5 Electronic resource:  http://digital-leaders.online/news/itogi-digital-leaders-2023 (the reference date: 20.12.2023)
6 Electronic resource:  https://pharmvestnik.ru/content/news/Pobeditelem-premii-Voice-Beauty-Awards-2023-stal-Kollagen-morsk... (the reference date: 20.12.2023)
7 Electronic resource:  https://rusregions.top/news/regionalnyij-renessans-obyavlenyi-laureatyi-programmyi-%C2%ABluchshee-dl... (the reference date: 20.12.2023)
8 According to joint stock company DSM Group data for the 1st half of 2023, average-weighted consumer price of a medicinal product expressed in terms of 1 tablet in comparison with its analogue. The analogue for comparison is chosen according to dosages, active ingredients and drug forms
9 The list of interchangeable medicines. Electronic resource:  https://grls.rosminzdrav.ru/Default.aspx (the reference date: 18.12.2023)
10 Eurasian patent № 035166