Country Report: Colombia - Pharmaceutical Executive


Country Report: Colombia

Pharmaceutical Executive


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."

Maria Cristina Álvarez, Country President, NOVARTIS
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."

Novarties facilities in Bogotá, Colombia, an example of the company’s commitment to the environment
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.


Marisol Sánchez, Executive President ANDI - Camara de Proveedores de la Salud
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."

Katherine Eissner, General Manager Andean Region Hospira
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.


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Source: Pharmaceutical Executive,
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