Country Report: Ireland - Pharmaceutical Executive


Country Report: Ireland

Pharmaceutical Executive

The generic side

Tony Hynds, Managing Director, Actavis Ireland
Just as Ireland has taken a hard line with innovators, the market has increasingly opened up to generics. For a state strapped for cash, the shift is not surprising. By European standards, it's perhaps rather late.

Tony Hynds, who convinced Actavis to invest in a greenfield sales and marketing operation in Ireland and serves as managing director for the market, says, "prior to 2008, the Irish pharmaceutical market was primarily dominated by innovators. Although in most of Western Europe, generic companies had fairly robust market share, in Ireland their role was minimal. Even after a patent expired for a given product and equivalents were allowed onto the market, originator companies still held 85-90 percent market share. The reason for this was the fact that, traditionally, there had been no government initiatives to support generic sales—no mandated generic prescribing, no legislation to support generic substitution, etc. Largely, generic companies had to make a go of it themselves."

Fergal Murphy, Company Director, Pinewood Healthcare
But when the recession hit the market, Hynds saw the state's budget dwindle "seemingly overnight." Seeing a major opportunity for generics, he approached Actavis. Hynds' business has been growing at over 100 percent per annum since then. More broadly, the generics group Association for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers in Ireland (APMI) reports that Ireland's off-patent segment has grown 35-40 percent in value in the last 18 months—even as the overall market has slid considerably, and even as the APMI's own structured agreement with government led to an interim pan-market price reduction of 15 percent. Thank pro-generics policies.

Julie Murphy, Commercial Manager, Gerard Laboratories (Mylan) Ireland
Fergal Murphy, APMI Chairman and company director of the leading generics business in Ireland—Wockhardt affiliate Pinewood Healthcare—explains that while off-patent prices are set to be reduced by an additional 15 percent soon, first, two new elements will be defined: generic substitution and generic reference pricing. The two will have a highly impactful, if not revolutionary, effect on the local market landscape in Ireland.

Supporting a pipeline, and driving productivity, from Ireland
Murphy comments, "In five years' time, I believe generics will take up to 90 percent of the public market in the off-patent space—up from about 50 percent today—with the originator brands retaining the remainder. In the overall market, I believe generics will constitute 35 percent share—up from about 18 percent today. I would like to reach the level of generic penetration in Ireland that we see in the UK."

How to be prepared for a new paradigm? Mylan UK/Ireland MD John Munson and colleague Gerard Laboratories (Mylan) Ireland Commercial Director Julie Murphy believe that in an environment that was once controlled by indigenous generics companies, the time has arrived for global entities. Competition will be defined by the breadth of one's pipeline, the quality of one's offering, and the reliability of one's supply chain. Mylan, the country's largest manufacturer of generics, will produce 2.7 billion doses in Ireland this year—but Mylan's commercial team remains hard at work bolstering its sales operation.

Sanofi: one multinational’s investment in Ireland
The difficulty is cultural: will a market where doctors, pharmacists, and patients are used to the innovator brand, accept the International Nonproprietary Name (INN)? Munson says of Murphy's challenge today: "Julie is in an interesting position in the market. When generic substitution is introduced, we have little idea whether the volume effects will hit on day one, or a year down the line. In this sense, we have a lot of planning challenges. However, we have a highly flexible supply chain, which is a fantastic advantage. I believe we are well positioned to capitalize on emerging opportunities here in Ireland—as long as generic medicines become more widely accepted in the market."


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Source: Pharmaceutical Executive,
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