Chilean Pharma: Exploring Beyond Copper - Pharmaceutical Executive


Chilean Pharma: Exploring Beyond Copper

Pharmaceutical Executive


The country's impressive economic success over the last decade, together with the ongoing modernization of Chilean healthcare, is creating a greater demand for innovative treatments. Chile's increasing wealth is reflected by Santiago's shiny glass skyline and luxury megamalls, but also in the quality of healthcare and medical treatments being demanded by the population, including those covered by the public healthcare system. Furthermore, as a true free-market economy, the liberalization of the industry to include private healthcare providers and insurance companies is allowing patients to pick and choose their medical treatment options, causing first-class products and niche segments to become solid drivers of the industry. This trend is illustrated in the marked difference of a ranking of the top 10 pharma companies in the country in terms of units sold versus one measured in terms of value. The first only includes two innovator companies, namely Merck and Bayer in the eighth and 10th positions, respectively, whereas the second lists Pfizer as the fifth-most-important company, immediately followed by MSD, Bayer, Merck, and GSK in descending order. Such figures are also indicative of the increasing consumption of innovative products by the public system, including premium and niche products. As a whole the country is slowly moving to improve the quality of treatments available to the population.

Farmindustria plant
As the leader of the Chilean biotech offering, Roche is the prime example of a company benefitting from upgrades in the public healthcare system. General manager Rene Delsin comments on the successful implementation of pilot programs to introduce new products into the public sector: "With these programs, such as one for our HIV products, we were able to gain access to the public system serving 80% of the population." The company already dedicates 50% of its portfolio to oncology products, most of which fall under the public healthcare plan, and is currently growing above the market driven by their biotech offering. Delsin describes the company's strategy as one that is migrating from primary care to high-tech drugs. Lilly has been taking a comparable approach to the Chilean market by targeting therapeutic areas that are currently not addressed by the public system. Cesar Buendia, general manager for Chile, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia, explains that "given Chile's highly competitive environment, I would say the main challenge is indeed to continue providing new innovative treatments to address unmet medical needs, which is our main objective, in a way that is timely and cost-effective". The company is leveraging their position in the market by specializing in neurological diseases, erectile dysfunction, and diabetes that are all covered under the AUGE-GES plan. Buendia further states that "as long as there are patients that can benefit from innovative products then we as a company will strive to provide them."


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