Tiago Arantes
General Director
MSD Animal Health in Mexico
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View from the Top

‘One Health’ Approach to Animal Health

By Miriam Bello | Wed, 06/02/2021 - 10:58

Q: MSD’s goal is to become the global leader in animal vaccines. How is Mexico collaborating in the development of these solutions?

A: The Mexican agriculture market is one of MSD’s strongest. Globally, Mexico is the sixth-largest producer of chicken meat and the fourth-largest producer of eggs. We work with the second-largest egg producer in the country. We have focused on offering different services for every client by understanding their different needs. Vaccines and medicines for livestock represent about 3 percent of agribusiness’ total expenses, so companies that invest smartly in this area will have greater savings.

MSD’s innovate solutions aim to support the generation of high-quality food by enhancing the animal’s genetic potential while ensuring its excellent health. Our solutions have proven to reduce death rates, increase production and deliver quality food, positioning us as leaders and helping our clients get more from their products.

For the Mexican market, eggs are a priority protein – and the most consumed product in the country. Aside from breastmilk, it is the most complete food people can eat.

Q: How have viruses such as influenza or COVID-19 impacted your approach to vaccination and treatment?

A: Some areas are more challenging than others in terms of animal health. We build personalized vaccination programs for every client. There is no influenza vaccine yet but we have built solution packages to support our clients as they fight the disease.

Prevention is just as important for animals as it is for humans, which is why we stay in constant contact with clients to be proactive and work to avoid future crises. Animal and human health are closely related. At MSD, we use the term “One health” to refer to the health environment that encompasses both.

Q: MSD recently completed the acquisition of Poultry Sense Limited, which focuses on monitoring. Why are you investing in this area?

A: MSD’s focus on innovation drove us to acquire the company now called Merck Animal Health Intelligence, which owns Allflex, one of Mexico’s leading brands. Through Merck Animal Health Intelligence solutions, we now offer apps that track the habits of animals, from farm animals to house pets.

For bovines, we offer a monitoring app that measures how many times cows move, their health and when, how often and for how long they ruminate, sit or stand. This tool enhances animal care and supports their well-being. Our monitoring area is receiving more attention because it provides superior benefits and makes a large difference in animal health.

Q: Where does your manufacturing process take place?

A: We have 14 R&D centers and 18 manufacturing plants globally. We concentrate production in countries that have strategic logistics or a better supply of raw materials. We had a plant in Mexico to manufacture antiparasitic products, but it is being moved to the US.

Q: Positive leadership is being highly encouraged in MSD’s animal health branch. How does this result in better solutions?

A: MSD’s great market positioning has been achieved thanks to our people, who are our most valuable asset. We have more than 130 years of experience in the field of animal health, with a presence in over 140 countries and we stand out because of our teams.

At MSD, we believe that achieving outstanding innovation requires a focus on promoting a positive working environment, where every person can bring the best of themselves. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. We try to identify both in a person to build teams in which members complement each other. This is a change in the working culture but MSD has been building leaders for three years now and the results have been outstanding: our team members feel supported and free to show the best version of themselves to achieve their personal and professional goals.

To promote innovation, we are convinced every company must integrate diversity into their teams, starting with the team leader. Collaborators who come from different backgrounds and have different life experiences can add a unique input to our developments and strategies.

Despite the COVID-19 limitations, we continued the integration initiatives we had implemented prior to the pandemic. As a multicultural team, it is important to know the way other people live, act and interact with clients, so we implemented a cultural marathon to remain close and in contact with our team.

 

MSD Animal Health is a unit of US multinational pharmaceutical Merck Sharp & Dohme. It offers a wide range of veterinary products and services.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst