Representing some 40% of the Latin American pharma market in value and consumer figures, Brazil is a natural hub for production—although
currently exports are dwarfed by imports to the tune of over US$5 billion per year, a deficit that is growing fast and will
only grow along with Brazilian's needs for more complex treatments manufactured abroad. With a strict regulatory body in ANVISA,
manufactured products provide a regional regulation reference, which can help ease location decisions.
Rosa Maria Scavarelli, president, Theraskin
However, the country has yet to develop a strong domestic API production level, and many say it has already missed the boat.
However, others claim that internationalization, rather than exportation and raw imports and exports, should be the concern.
Mussolini breaks it down. "Looking at other countries in the world—U.S., Canada, most of Europe, etc.—it's normal for a negative
pharmaceutical trade balance," he says. Mussolini, addressing the state of API exports, notes, "It's different in China, India,
and Ireland. It's natural to import more pharmachemical products than you export, because you need capacity and economies
of scale," he continues, while discounting the notion that this is necessary in order to compete. "We don't have markets for
it in Brazil. We need to produce and export products here for Latin America, Asia, and Africa. These are our markets and it's
foolish to believe otherwise. Africa is an easier and more comfortable market for Brazil, where among other advantages, in
countries like Angola and Mozambique, we speak the same language."
Heraldo Marchezini, senior vp, Sanofi Latin America, and general manager, Sanofi Brazil
Indeed, it's put succinctly by Alexander Triebnigg the head of Novartis Brazil, the country's third-largest healthcare company,
and the largest global research-based pharmaceutical company, which has been in Brazil since 1937, and may have gained an
institutional insight or two into the local psychology: "As a general rule, it is not easy for Brazilians to leave their country,
but it is a key step in the development of a global perspective and a global career, and also of coming back into a leadership
position." Triebnigg encourages his colleagues "to think about Switzerland, a small country, yet, with Roche and Novartis,
home to two of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies." Triebnigg explains this unlikely occurrence: "Novartis and Roche
do not define themselves as local but [rather] global companies. So the path to a sustainable future for leading Brazilian
companies in such an exciting and fast-growing domestic market is to ask: Where else can I go? Where else can I grow and invest
the money I have earned here?"
This shift requires what Ogari Pacheco, president and founder of Cristália, might rightly call "radical innovation." As an
international defender of radical innovation at the local level, he responds to the difficulty of thinking outside the box
in Brazil. "Let's suppose that the four of us are representatives from multinational companies, and outside the door there
are many small companies present in the market. If we all agree the idea that radical innovations are extremely difficult
to produce, that it takes many years and around US$800 million to US$1 billion to create a new molecule, then very few of
them will have the courage to do it. So it will be only the four of us, because we have the capacity and money to invest,
who will go on this road of radical innovation. For this reason, most of the small companies do not even try to create innovations.
But sometimes, an exception can occur with a company like Cristália—which innovations without spending US$800 million for
a new molecule. This metaphor that I am using is not the absolute truth; it is my personal truth as the founder of Cristália."
Jose Bastos, president, MSD Brazil
Pacheco has also been courted internationally, and wryly observes, "I have decided that I should stop having so many dinners;
otherwise I will never manage to stay fit." Jokes aside, however, Pacheco says "Cristália is the beautiful girl on the market
at this moment, which every young man wants to have. Besides being a beautiful girl, Cristália is also a serious, responsible
family girl—so not every young man can have her. Therefore I will pay a lot of attention to whom I will give her to, if she
ever leaves the family."
Still firmly in the family is Theraskin, purveyor of high aggregate value products, which target the Class A and B, and bold
plans to bring its dermatological expertise outside of Brazil, throughout Latin America and overseas. "Our R&D has developed,
and we plan to develop even more, bringing more innovation either with what we do here ourselves, or through alliances and
partnerships with German, French, and American companies," says president Rosa Maria Scavarelli. "We have capacity, and we
plan to expand this even more. If a company wants to be in this market, and needs the profile Theraskin has—not necessarily
products with big volume, but ones with high degrees of innovation—we are the ones."
Scavarelli, whose father, Basílio Scavarelli, the founder of the company, is 101 years old, gives perspective to these potential
partners: "He began in the pharmaceutical industry in 1930, and is still alive, in the office every day, and making plans
for the next 20 years! Our history is the best proof of what we are—so Theraskin is here to stay."