It wasn’t just media news that caused supplement companies to begin looking for hoodia gordonii supplies. Press releases by Phytopharm, a British pharmaceutical company, about researching hoodia and side effects that might be associated with hoodia caused the initial stir in the health supplement industry. Phytopharm has two operating divisions; a plant extract division and a pharmaceutical division. In June of 1997, Phytopharm announced that "a naturally occurring appetite suppressant is to be developed into a prescription medicine by Phytopharm". This was to be Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii product. News of a naturally occurring appetite suppressant sent, not only supplement companies, but those who needed to lose weight searching for this "naturally occurring appetite suppressant". At that time, everyone expected Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii product to be a prescription drug even though it was consistently referred to by the company as a "natural anti-obesity treatment". Their collaboration with Pfizer, another pharmaceutical company, to research hoodia and side effects that could be caused by hoodia use only supported the idea that Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii would be a prescription drug. Now, since they have partnered with Unilever, not a pharmaceutical company, it is somewhat unclear what Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii product will be. They do seem committed to the idea that Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii will be superior to products that are currently on the market. Phytopharm’s product development strategy begins with what they call "proof of principle" clinical testing. These tests are designed to determine if a product has the potential to be safe and effective. Proof of principle testing of Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii product began in March of 2001. News about hoodia and side effects were released after this first phase was completed in December of 2001. This was a naturally occurring substance and there appeared to be no side effects associated with its use. After completing the initial clinical testing, Phytopharm’s strategy advances to the search for a partner company for "late stage development, sales and marketing". The partner company for Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii product is Unilever, manufacturers of food products, dietary supplements and over the counter medications. One of their more famous products is "Slim Fast". Phytopharm is still researching and investigating the possibility or a drug to treat metabolic disorder and hoodia gordonii is the basis for this drug. Phytopharm attempts to obtain patents for naturally occurring substances. "Phytopica" is a Phytopharm product for the treatment of dermatitis in dogs and was just released in April of 2006. Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii product is patented, but they have had more than a little trouble keeping other manufacturers of natural products from selling their own hoodia products. In May of 2006, they announced that they were aware that other companies were selling hoodia gordonii as an appetite suppressant and that they believed that this could be patent infringement. They said that they had contacted the appropriate authorities. The problem is that a naturally occurring product can not be patented. If Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii product is unique and therefore stronger, safer and better than the hoodia products that are currently on the market, then how could there be patent infringement and why would they be concerned about companies that are selling what they imply are inferior products? There is no comparison between the known side effects of hoodia and side effects associated with appetite suppressants that contain stimulants. Products which contain both hoodia and stimulants could create a problem. It is believed that problems with Ephedra arose as a result of being mixed with caffeine or other stimulants. The problem was that this could not be proven without endangering human health. Hopefully, Phytopharm’s hoodia gordonii product will be stimulant free as are many of the hoodia products that are currently on the market.