Painkillers are becoming more popular in Cambodia. Regardless of the type of pain being experienced, they are the first course of action for many. They are easy to purchase, and do not require consultation with a doctor, saving both time and money.
Experts have warned that an over reliance on painkillers carries risks. It is possible that by masking the symptoms of a medical issue, it may worsen without the sufferer realising. In addition, many painkillers can have severe side effects if used too often.
A medical school graduate has spent 10 years developing an alternative to painkiller pills. Her solution is a local anaesthetic painkilling oil, which can be applied directly to affected parts of the body.
Since graduating in 2012, Ing Siem Kim has been using what she learned to develop her product, known as Traumatic Pain oil. Like all of the great innovators, she had many failures, but has now found what she believes is a winning formula.
During her research, she experimented with many different substances that she thought could boost the effectiveness of her product. At the same time, she studied the domestic market and discovered that nothing comparable is being produced locally. The only similar products that are available in the Kingdom are imported, mostly from Singapore.
She experimented on the members of her family once felt the product was ready, and – following a few more tweaks based on their feedback – she has arrived at the finished product. She estimates that she spent in excess of $30,000 on research and development, mostly on the import of raw materials.
“I know a lot of Cambodians are taking painkillers, and I know that there are risks associated with an over-reliance in them,” she said.
“If the correct dosage is being used, the risks of potentially harmful side effects are reduced. Unfortunately, many people are self-prescribing, so it is unlikely that their dosages are correct. Of course doctors will prescribe painkillers following severe accidents or surgery, but they are trained to manage risk” she added.
She also said their excessive use can affect the liver and kidneys and cause stomach ulcers. In addition, recent research has shown that it can affect the brain, especially in pregnant women.
Her Traumatic Pain oil can be used on wounds and muscles and was registered with the Ministry of Industry earlier this year.
This was only the first step, she said, as she wanted to expand production so she could supply the whole country. In the future, she envisioned reaching into international markets.
At present, production remains on a small scale, with her family helping her to produce and bottle the oil. This suits current demand for her goods, as consumers in Cambodia remain accustomed to the use of pills or menthol plasters.
On October 27, Traumatic Pain oil went on display at the “One Village, One Product” forum for the first time. Following the event, she received praise from the leaders of the forum’s promotion committee.
Cambodian authorities encourage small and large business owners alike to embrace innovation and enhance the quality of their products. This was one of the founding principles of the forum, which showcased new locally-developed new products.