Country Report: Thailand - Pharmaceutical Executive


Country Report: Thailand

Pharmaceutical Executive


Aman Bhattacharjee, managing director, Merck
The government's cost-containment measures were mainly targeted at the top tier of the three national medical schemes: the Civil Servant Medical Scheme (covering 10 percent of the population), the focus area for most MNCs. As the most expensive therapeutic classes were targeted, scores of MNCs lost their place on the List of Essential Medicine. Logically, representatives of MNCs urge the government for a more positive balance between innovative & generic medicine, as, according to Dr. Kitima Yuthavong, CEO of PReMA, "there is a need for governmental funds to be balanced between the aim for cost containment, and the demands of patients and doctors."

Biotech – Ready for the Next Episode
Despite the efforts of the association, it seems unlikely that the government is willing to change its ways. Furthermore, although the fruits of Indochina's biggest market might not be reaped as easily as they had been prior to 2008, this does not mean that success is impossible. "The last IMS analysis showed that 60 percent of government hospital sales were still originator products, but that the number is declining and growth is coming from branded generics both in the government and private segments," said Helen Featherstone, general manager at IMS.

Managing director Aman Bhattacharjee of Merck, one of the fastest growing MNCs in Thailand, outlined that it is the company portfolio that allows for an optimal position on the Thai market. "We are focused not just on the private sector, but on the government sector as well, while most MNCs focus solely on the private sector," he said.

However, government offers big business in terms of volume, so that base is needed to grow and sustain the business. Over the years, companies lose their value in Thailand because their commodities become cheaper, but the company has to ensure that production costs come down while volumes go up. Merck is doing this in high-growth segments, such as oncology and fertility."


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