Foreign Exchange

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 9, 2004

It pays to be patient.

Just ask employees of United Douglas Pharmaceuticals.

After five years of preparation, the Luverne-based global healthcare supplier exported its first shipment of pills to its parent company, Korea United Pharmaceuticals in Korea, to be marketed.

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"Right now this shipment means everything for Douglas Pharmaceuticals," Operations Supervisor Myron Boatwright said. "It's the sum total of an effort that has been going on here since April of 1999. This is the first time in this area that this has been done. Pharmaceuticals are not a big industry here as it is in the rest of the country and other countries. We had to approach it with a degree of caution because you don't have the vast amount of resources that other companies have the benefit of, which is not to slack our parent company that is a global company.

"We're not left out here all by ourselves, but working with Korea you have a different time frame and a slight language barrier. We've taken pride in trying to do everything on our own or with the smallest amount of help we can ask for."

The shipment contained a dietary supplement called Glucosan. Glucosan helps in the prevention of osteoporosis, stimulates joint function and repair and aids in the rehabilitation of cartilage, renewing synovial fluid and repairing joints that have been damaged from osteoarthritis. Glucosamine is the basic building block of joint cartilage, which helps to maintain structural integrity of joints and connective tissues.

"Once this product sells we will begin to establish ourselves in a foreign market," Boatwright said. "We have a generous and supportive parent company and we benefit

from having an implied reputation for quality and service that we have not yet directly established. With the support of Korea United and our tireless commitment to succeed, we will emerge into that market and hope to soon secure our portion. United Douglas hopes to be a recognizable trade name in the global market."

A total of 47 boxes, which contained 4,557, 60-count bottles of pills were shipped over seas. The process to prepare the shipment took six days.

"United Douglas is mainly an exporting oriented company," Plant Manager Mr. Song said. "For the time being, we will focus on exporting to Asian countries and later we will prepare to export to Mexico, Canada and European countries."

Boatwright said this shipment is an indicator that United Douglas has a bright future ahead.

"Now when we tell a company that we can supply them with a drug, we're confident that we can do it and we're not just guessing," Boatwright said. "Not only can we supply them, but we can at a competitive rate."

Due to certain codes and regulations set forth by the Food and Drug Administration, it took four years to prepare the facility, located at 72 Jane Drive in Luverne, for production.

Luverne Mayor Joe Rex Sport said the economic impact from United Douglas isn't tremendous, but believes having the m the company in the city is beneficial.

"The building is being put to good use and the services we provide them help the city's economy," Sport said. "Over a period of years they will play their part as far as providing jobs to our residents and contributing to the local economy with their families living here. Making their first shipment is certainly a positive for them and for the city as a whole."

Glucosan is one of eight dietary products United Douglas plans to produce. Others include, Joy Support, Green-C, Coral-D, 3G, Nonial-S, Cranberryal-S and Green Beauty.

"Most finished products will be exported to Korea, the Philippines, Vietnam and other countries," Song said. "Meanwhile, we will try to set up domestic markets in the United States and Mexico."

Most of the products United Douglas is planning to produce have been on the American market for some time and have had great success. Boatwright hopes the same will be for United Douglas.

"We hope in the future that our product line expands as does the size of our facility and our staff," he said. "The vision for this small company is much broader than what we have achieved here, although we are pleased. We can now benchmark this accomplishment and dedicate ourselves to further reaching other goals. We are very undaunted in our stance, we are very tireless in our efforts and we are very proud of ourselves today."