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Dr. Armin Dörr, Chemist (Ph.D.), has been responsible for the global marketing and sales of WALA Medicines since 2011.
When did you first hear about WALA Medicines?
I first heard about WALA from my children, or more precisely from their paediatrician. My interest in WALA Medicines then grew as I observed the effect of these formulations on my children. As a chemist, I was naturally interested in finding out what kind of drugs they were and how they achieved their efficacy. It was very exciting for me to discover these new correlations. Only later did I also start to address the more fundamental questions of scientific theory and the specific anthroposophical view of disease and recovery.
What is so special about the particular efficacy of these drugs?
Patients go to their doctor or pharmacist with a specific health problem and expect the drugs that are prescribed or recommended to produce a noticeable improvement. The aim is to recover as quickly as possible, or at least to alleviate the symptoms of the illness. With WALA Medicines, in addition to immediate symptom-related efficacy, the aim is also always to activate the self-healing powers of the person and thereby help her or him to achieve a stable and balanced state of health. Selecting the appropriate drug and determining the correct dosage is based on the anthroposophical understanding of the human organism and the healing powers of plants. But this background knowledge can be more important for the doctor and pharmacist in selecting the right drug, and less so for the patient. The important thing for patients is that almost all WALA Medicines have been used for decades, ever since WALA was founded in 1935, and have proven their effectiveness over generations.
What is important for patients apart from the drug’s efficacy?
Of course, the safety of the drug is also crucial for patients. In this respect, we are subject to the same legal regulations and controls as other pharmaceutical manufacturers and document all cases of adverse events (side effects). The fact that our medicines are made exclusively from natural raw materials means patients can be treated with minimal side effects, but it of course does not exempt us from complying with these regulations. In terms of safety, decades of experience again offer a proven advantage. This provides us with a solid basis to warn of any possible side effects or intolerances.
Can you give an example of drug efficacy that you have experienced?
The analgesic effect of preparations containing the medicinal plants arnica for blunt trauma injuries and monkshood for nerve or joint pain and painful tension can be felt immediately. WALA Medicines are based on plants with medicinal properties that have, in some cases, been known and used for centuries. We exploit the full effectiveness of their healing powers through our specific pharmaceutical processes: WALA uses rhythmic procedures to produce aqueous plant extracts, with which it is able to transfer these healing powers to the respective medicines. Many of these procedures are carried out by hand – in combination with the latest laboratory techniques and technologies.
These plant extracts are preserved without alcohol?
Yes, for WALA this is a decisive quality feature for all orally administered preparations. Firstly, we only use natural raw materials in the production of our extracts. And secondly: even during the pharmaceutical processes we avoid wherever possible any methods that would distort these natural raw materials. Our rhythmic procedures are the most natural preserving agents. Through them, we enable the healing powers of nature to take full effect. Therefore, almost all WALA Medicines intended for internal administration are also suitable for small children because they are produced without alcohol.
As Head of Marketing and Sales, you must be in constant dialogue with doctors, pharmacists, midwives and nurses. What trends are you observing?
With doctors and in pharmacists, I am seeing a strong trend towards integrative medicine. WALA's anthroposophic medicines – including, for example, external applications – are being increasingly prescribed, recommended and above all used. They are often offered in combination with or as support for other therapies. This combined therapy approach is becoming more and more popular and represents a truly serious contribution to the future of medicine. The current trend towards a stronger presence of natural and complementary medicines alongside conventional health care is particularly apparent in Asia and South America, where the interest in traditional and complementary medicine is growing rapidly. But this development is also gaining momentum in Germany. Baden-Württemberg is one of the leading regions in Europe with regard to the diverse range of competencies of integrative medicine.
And what about the patients? What are patients interested in aside from the immediate effectiveness and safety of the drugs?
Patients are also becoming increasingly aware of the importance of stimulating and strengthening the body's own self-healing powers with natural drugs. This represents a real shift in attitude. An increasing number of people are realising that they are ultimately responsible for their own health. Patients want to supplement their healthy diet and exercise with a variety of therapies as offered by integrative medicine and with the inclusion of natural treatment methods. These includes anthroposophic medicines with their double effectiveness: targeting the symptoms while also activating the body’s self-healing powers. Today, people are increasingly fascinated by the fact that nature has so many active ingredients to offer. The raw botanical materials used in WALA Medicines come from the company's two medicinal herb gardens and from farms that work according to strict biological (Demeter) standards. We use this approach because it corresponds to our understanding of quality: this is when the foundation is laid for achieving the best possible medicinal effect. Whenever we source our raw materials from others, e.g. the wild harvesting of arnica, we work very closely with our partners and attach great importance to the same quality standards.