SMALL DOG, BIG BITE
Today it is evident that changes in the healthcare system have not only affected Big Pharma but also the local industry that
has had to adapt, shape up, and keep the pressure on the competition. This has helped develop entirely new strategies and
scenarios, including international mergers and acquisitions that today have made "national" industry a difficult term to define.
This is the new face of Chilean pharma.
Maria Angelica Sanchez, Executive Vice President of ASILFA
When global pharma shut down local production plants back in the '80s and '90s, contract manufacturing became essential to
placate national demand for pharmaceuticals. As a direct answer to this need, Farmindustria bought the former Schering-Plough
manufacturing plant in 1998 to later become the largest contract manufacturing in the country. Today Farmindustria is responsible
for 40% of all contract manufacturing in the country and has created its own laboratory known as Laboratorio Volta. Roberto
Roizman, CEO of Laboratorio Volta and Farmindustria, describes that "the company began as a very small operation 12 years
ago, but that was the perfect moment to enter the market because at that time the majority of the global pharmaceutical companies
were shutting down their manufacturing facilities in the country. In parallel there were the local companies that were growing
very quickly and did not have the capacity to produce all of their products." Farmindustria has remained at the cutting-edge
of the industry by investing 50% of its profit on new technology and equipment every year. Furthermore, they have maintained
flexibility as a key element of their operations and Roizman describes the company as one "that is willing and able to adapt
to the specific needs of our clients. If one of our customers comes to us with a proposal illustrating a new production process
with higher quality control standards, then we will do our best to implement the changes and to achieve the highest levels
that are required by the international industry."
Fernando del Puerto, General Manager of Pharma Investi
Beyond this the company recently developed a "partnership with Eurofarma in Brazil that is a very reputable company with an
extensive international network already in place ... and in this way Volta can increase its role in the region", explains
Roizman. The company also is pushing its limits to experiment with innovation and has gone as far as to exploit the country's
natural resources to develop a supplemental treatment for cancer derived entirely from a national berry known as Maqui.
Top 20 Ranking
Another notable example of evolution within the local Chilean industry is that of the No. 2 company, Andromaco, that, despite
its two manufacturing sites, is concentrating its efforts entirely on the commercialization of its products. It goes as far
as claiming that even if its production facilities were to shut down, it would still maintain their current market position
entirely based on its sales and marketing expertise. The company is now focusing on penetrating smaller markets in the region,
such as Bolivia and Central America, and even plans to acquire a company closer to those locations. Argentine Laboratorio
Bago, has also decided to use its Chilean operation for a similar purpose by exporting the majority of its production to the
In a similar fashion, ITF-Labomed CEO Francisco Medone Crovetto tells his company's story of building an international network
of partners: "Chile's market size and high competition made me realize that as a non-innovative company the best way for me
to grow was through licensing agreements. I then proceeded to look for licensing partners abroad to bring new products into
the market, and today 50% of our products are licensed and the other 50% are our own branded generics." After many years of
partnership with the Italian group Italfarmaco, Labomed was acquired in 2009 to form the current ITF-Labomed, which served
as an entry point into the Latin American market for the Italian mother company. Now that they are part of a European pharmaceutical
group, "We have aspirations to have a manufacturing plant that is certified by EMEA," concludes Crovetto.