Chilean Pharma: Exploring Beyond Copper - Pharmaceutical Executive


Chilean Pharma: Exploring Beyond Copper

Pharmaceutical Executive


Maria Angelica Sanchez, Executive Vice President of ASILFA
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.

Fernando del Puerto, General Manager of Pharma Investi
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."

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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.

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 Andean markets.

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.


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