Say the name Twins and Guyanese who are old enough will take you back at least 60 years to a time when remedies for common maladies—pains and sprains—were to be found at the village drug store; when concerned parents choose the pharmacist as their first resort to diagnose and heal their children’s sudden and discomfiting ailments, the doctor being pressed into service only if and when the ailment persisted.
The members of the Ferouz family have built both their professional careers and their livelihoods around serving Guyana in the pharmaceuticals industry; three generations at least, creating an unparalleled reputation in Guyana’s pharmaceuticals industry. Few among today’s senior citizens do not remember Twins Drug store, a name and a reputation that still survives through separate establishments, one in the vicinity of La Penitence Market and the other at the corners of Middle and Cummings streets.
Twins Manufacturing Chemists is part of that legacy, a diversification into the manufacture and distribution of Over The Counter (OTC) drugs embarked upon by Shaheed Ferouz in 1971.
This year, the company celebrates its fortieth year and the evidence of its sustained growth and its success is manifested in its plans for further expansion to serve a growing local, regional and international market.
Shaheed’s grandfather was a twin; that fact accounts for how the establishment got its name. He too has twin sons, Shafeek and Rafeek. But that is not all that is interesting about the family that owns Twins Manufacturing Chemists. Shaheed, an old boy of Queen’s College, holds a degree in pharmacy from the University of Bradford. Shafeek and Rafeek, who are integral parts of the business, are pharmacists too, as is their sister who resides outside Guyana and operates her own business in the pharmaceutical industry.
After he had graduated from Bradford and completed his internship at St James’ Hospital in Leeds, Shaheed Ferouz returned home and took a job as a Pharmacology Lecturer at the University of Guyana. After that he ventured into business on his own.
The people behind Twins Manufacturing Chemists make a formidable team and it shows in the success of the entity. Over four decades they have pushed their operations beyond the manufacture of drugs, putting their expertise to work in other areas where their skills and training apply, like the production of food flavourings, essences, disinfectants, insecticides, household cleaners, cosmetics and sauces. The reputation of the brand has ensured the success of their diversification.
And over time they have taken their brand, their reputation and their products beyond Guyana, winning and growing markets in the region and the United States. People in the diaspora still remember Twins and still seek out its reputation and its remedies. More recently, they have turned their attention to the South American market including the closest territories, Suriname, Venezuela and Brazil. Like other Guyanese manufacturers they are keen to see the completion of the Guyana/Brazil road link.
Progress has been punctuated by challenges. The face of the global pharmaceuticals industry has changed. There are illegal imports and fake drugs and fragile local systems with which to protect local consumers from these. There are too the various barriers to accessing overseas markets. Twins Manufactur-ing Chemists is eyeing the attainment of the ISO 9001 Standard and contemplating the recently enacted United States legislation that requires additional certification measures for food imports to that market. Ever-rising global labelling and packaging standards have also required major investments in those areas.
Their energy and their expertise have paid off. Rigorous in-house quality-control procedures apart, they challenge the tests imposed by independent analytical laboratories in the region, the United States and the United Kingdom. In each instance they have satisfied the stringent requirements of the Departments of Health in the various countries. They have met those and they are not stopping there.
Twins Manufacturing Chemists’ immediate-term plans to keep the company abreast of the demands of the industry include the imminent importation of new machinery and equipment to render the processes of production, labelling and packaging more seamless, less cumbersome. The new equipment will enhance production at the company’s plant situated at Industrial Site on the southern perimeter of Georgetown.
Market demand has necessitated further expansion and Twins Manufacturing Che-mists is expanding into Eccles.
At 68, Shaheed Ferouz remains an integral part of both the present and the future of the company that he has built. During the 1970s and 1980s he travelled to the various Caribbean territories to secure the export markets which have survived and grown.
The range of products patented by the company have been mostly products of his own thinking, ideas conceived by a mind which, over the years has come to understand both the scope of the discipline he studied and the needs of the local, regional and international markets. His leadership has demonstrably rewarded the company. It has grown by around 20 per cent over the past five years.
The local pharmacies and other outlets have backed the pioneering spirit of the Twins legacy. The company’s products still more than hold their own here in Guyana, an indication that consumers have kept faith with an outstanding local company that is driven by the slogan ‘Quality, Creati-vity and Excellence’ and which has served them well.