THE INNOVATOR'S DELIGHT
Clinical trials have become increasingly important for pharmaceutical companies in Colombia. For Rolf Hoenger, CEO of Productos
Roche S.A., innovation is key. "Innovation guarantees that you are competitive in the market," Hoenger stated. "As long as
you produce and bring new molecules to the market, you can be very successful. This is especially true in Roche's case where
there are clearly differentiated products. Innovation always pays off because you always bring something to the market that
is asked for."
Hoenger also cites clinical trials as a critical part of the Colombian pharmaceutical industry. "Clinical trials provide a
benefit for the industry to further develop, but also for the government because all these patients are treated free of charge,"
continued Hoenger. "Furthermore, these patients get access to the latest in existing medicines and the doctors obtain experience
in good clinical practice. It is a win-win for everybody. You have doctors who are trained very well in Colombia, which makes
the country reliable for clinical trials."
Maria Cristina Álvarez, Country President, NOVARTIS
The U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD), which runs one out of every three clinical trials in Colombia,
is also taking advantage of this reliability. Norton Oliveira, general manager of MSD in Colombia, said that the company's
"significant investment in clinical research in Colombia results in the generation of employment, continuous education to
the medical community, support to research units and programs, and technology transfer." The affiliate also runs an MSD data
management center, which consolidates data from clinical trials and pharmacovigilance programs for all of the Americas, including
the United States.
Novarties facilities in Bogotá, Colombia, an example of the company’s commitment to the environment
MIXING UP THE MEDICINE
Acquisitions have also played a role in the dynamics of the Colombian pharmaceutical industry. The most recent significant
example was the purchase of local generics manufacturer Genfar by Sanofi, placing Sanofi as the market leader. "The local
expectation is to consolidate our number one position in the total market, be the number one generics company and place Colombia
as a hub for generics activity in the Andean and Central American region," said Sanofi Colombia general manager Mauricio Botero.
"Genfar currently has large operations in Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, and Central America. Revenues are $150 million, and $70
million are in Colombia alone. There are many expectations to consolidate Sanofi as a leader in Colombia in generics and accelerate
penetration in other countries."
Marisol Sánchez, Executive President ANDI - Camara de Proveedores de la Salud
As generics play an important part in the pharmaceutical industry due to their affordability and accessibility for many Colombians,
this strategic Genfar purchase will allow Sanofi to retain market leadership. Chilean pharmaceutical company Recalcine's recent
purchase of Colombian Lafrancol implies a strategic integration and synergizing of both companies' best practices as a means
of staying competitive in the Colombian market. Acquisitions of brands or plants are becoming more commonplace; in 2012, Brazilian
pharmaceuticals company Eurofarma acquired a plant from Merck, Sharpe & Dohme (MSD) in Colombia as a means of expanding their
presence in the country.
Katherine Eissner, General Manager Andean Region Hospira