Country Report: Mexico - Pharmaceutical Executive


Country Report: Mexico
Shaking Up the System

Pharmaceutical Executive

Karel Fucikovsky, General Director Mexico & Central America, Pierre Fabre Médicament
"In 2009, Aspen started to implement a structure that would enable us to enter into the private ethical market, or the prescription-based business. That is where we started to build up our sales and marketing team. At the same time, we were launching a small portfolio of locally developed and manufactured branded generics. The combination of the two provides a strong platform with greater brand recognition for future Aspen branded generics." says Peter Erlbacher, COO of Aspen Labs, Spanish Latin America.

This turnaround strategy to harness the Mexican market trends was proven successful as Erlbacher goes on to explain. "Since then, Aspen Labs has performed incredibly well: we have delivered significant growth, more than trebling our turnover in the last three years."

Other MNCs did not turn around to join the generic playground, but fought back by taking it a step further from a localization point of view. They are either making tailor-made solutions from their current portfolio, or using their innovative pipelines to target niche biotechnology sectors.

Sergio Duplan, Country President and General Manager, Novartis Mexico
Tim Daveler, vice president and general director of MSD in Mexico explains, "We have a unique development laboratory here in Mexico [the Mexican Product Development Laboratory] that is not commonly seen in other companies, especially not multinational companies. We use this development laboratory to expand the lifecycle management for our products in order to meet the needs of Mexicans. Many of our products that are on the shelves in Mexico have come from our development laboratory... in order to meet the market needs here in Mexico."

Karel Fucikovsky, general director in Mexico & Central America for the French company Pierre Fabre Médicament, believes a specialty focus will bring reward.

Angel Sosa, General Director, Octapharma Mexico
"The rules of the market will keep changing... International companies will start to focus on higher specialty drugs, and a company like Pierre Fabre Medicament that is very focused on products and medical specialties, will be able to deliver growth."

On the same tack, multinational Novartis decided to change their business model in Mexico and shift their resources away from mature brands. They are focusing their efforts on new brands in niche markets and promoting awareness and partnerships within the government.

"Now our pipelines are focused on specialty products for rarer diseases treated by high-priced biotechnology products that very few people can buy for themselves. For this strategy we need to partner with the Government and Social Security system in order to get reimbursement, and so that patients can receive the products. Only now are [the authorities] beginning to open up and put resources into new products again." says Sergio Duplan, country president and general manager of Novartis Mexico.

Medical education and awareness has traditionally been quite challenging in Mexico, leading some companies to put resources into education in order for the market to open up.

Angel Sosa, general director in Mexico of human protein specialists Octapharma, explains that "It is not easy to show the government authorities the savings to be made in giving patients the treatments that they require, but it is possible, and it is also the key to further developing immune deficiency treatment in Mexico."

Octapharma takes an active role in promoting this, he says.

"We participate in both government and scientific meetings in which authorities, physicians and patients discuss awareness issues openly... and in the field of immune deficiencies, we have been working very closely with a patient organization by sponsoring a road trip across the country that transmits the key focal signs of the diseases to local physicians."


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