Pick a Partner, Please
IMS Health, a longstanding source of information analysis for the pharmaceutical business, has found an immense opportunity
to develop its consulting skills. Carlos Mocho, general director for Spain and Portugal, explains: "Following an aggressive
strategy of establishing partnerships and hiring skilled talents from established companies such as Deloitte, KPMG and Boston
Consulting Group, IMS Health has consolidated its consulting division." The impact of the shift has been immediate. "IMS Health
Iberia is growing above 20% per year," continues Mocho. "The traditional areas of information analysis are following the global
IMS trend of 12% increase; on the other hand, the new areas have a major contribution in these successes, reaching 40% increases
in some cases."
The new structure of IMS Health Iberia divides the company into two parts, one focused on information management and the other
on health economics. "Recently, IMS Health has acquired a company in Barcelona called HRO Group that enlarged our competencies
in such fields," Mocho says of the expansion of the company's consulting business. "At the moment, there are 10 people in
Portugal and 30 in Spain involved in the consulting business." Furthermore, IMS Health has decided to take a strategic approach
combining its Iberian operations in Lisbon. "We are discussing two very close regions. The Portuguese market, compared to
some regions in Spain, is very similar in terms of size and trends. As an example, the trend is taking companies such as Pfizer
or Merck Sharp & Dohme to introduce products and approach clients in both markets at the same time. In such a way, IMS Health
can provide better services to its clients."
ITF Farma, part of the Italian Italfarmaco Group, is one of IMS Health's clients. When separating from its Portuguese partner
in 2003, ITF took into account the particular nuances of the Portuguese market to design a tailor-made approach. "The size
of the Portuguese market demands a very particular strategy. In addition to having the traditional portfolio of the group,
Portugal has some generic products that no other facility in the group has, considering that it is a very good financial opportunity,"
says Ana Girbal, general director of the company in Portugal. "In terms of results, if you have to break even by the fourth
year as an independent company in the country and increase investments, you have to be very pragmatic," she continues. "The
group's traditional core business is represented by the cardiovascular and immuno-oncological areas; nevertheless, ITF Farma
Portugal does not have products related to such areas, with the exception of generic products." The strategy has proven to
be very effective as the company moves toward a US$12 million turnover in 2007, representing an increase of 13% compared with
Generics at a Crossroads
The generic market was a latecomer to Portugal, having been legally authorized in 2002. Nevertheless, the favorable conditions
created by the government have turned the category into a remarkable success story, allowing it to flourish beyond almost
anyone's expectations. "Nobody believed, me included, that the generic market would represent 16% of the market in only four
years. That was the projection for a 10-year period," says Apifarma's Gomes Esteves. As generic products are, on average,
35% cheaper than innovative products, the government has identified the segment as a tool to reduce its reimbursement bill.
As a result, the government has decided to invest heavily in educational campaigns targeting doctors, pharmacists and consumers,
and approvals for product introduction have been easily obtained. The additional 10% subvention on the reimbursement scheme
has also been a critical factor in the successful implementation.
Joao Gomes Esteves