José Alberto Peña
Director General
Marzam Healthcare Distribution
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View from the Top

Access to Healthcare Through Information

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 09:37

Q: What are the main challenges of distributing healthrelated products in Mexico?

A: There are two major challenges in the Mexican health industry: public investment and security. The Mexican health system is fragmented, which causes inefficiencies. In terms of infrastructure, we do not need much more; there should be no problem with the available infrastructure. The issue is how we are using this infrastructure. More needs to be done on prevention (vaccination) and on preventive education because it will be difficult to overcome the health problems we have now if we do not change the habits of the new generations.

Another challenge is security. We have seen an increase in the number of transportation thefts, something that we are addressing with technology, since boosting the number of security personnel does not eliminate the problem. We are focusing on technology to ensure our products are tracked correctly, taking preventive action and working closely with the authorities of each state.

Q: What are the hardest places to reach and how do you manage logistics to these areas?

A: The most complicated geographies are those furthest away from urban areas. In Mexico, there are around 30,000 stores that dispense healthcare products (prescription or nonprescription goods), of which 16,000 are independent pharmacies: Marzam visits 11,500 of these 16,000. Therefore, we believe we are the company that reaches the largest number of independent pharmacies. We also visit regional pharmacies, pharmacy chains and self-service shops. In total, we visit close to 20,000 points of sale.

Q: How do you guarantee the correct distribution at all points of sale?

A: Marzam has two great strengths: our infrastructure reach and the information we generate. We are helping the pharmacies and the health industry by providing them with information, which helps decision-making regarding purchasing and distribution. We all have the same goal and if we provide the right service to the patient the rest will find its way.

Q: Marzam started with the distribution of pharmaceuticals (prescription and nonprescription), then wound care and health-related material. What is the next step?

A: Diversification is a core part of our strategy today and into the future. We are already working with medical devices and specialty products. These trends in the healthcare market will become more important and we want to be part of that evolution. In the future, Marzam’s sales will evolve and we will carefully evaluate all new areas of opportunity. Today, we work with 200 providers in the healthcare industry. 

Q: Marzam has launched a new online platform that serves more than 11,000 pharmacies. What impact has Marzam en línea had?

A: We are working to get closer to our clients through new media. Marzam en línea allows independent pharmacies to maintain communication with Marzam, allowing them to track their activities and to request any support they need. Customers can use this online platform to make their purchases, verify what they bought, view the status of their orders and check their account status. In September 2017, the first month that Marzam en línea was available online, 10 percent of pharmacies had already registered.

Q: Given the company’s desire to become an integral health provider, what are your diversification plans?

A: Our private market business is divided between independent pharmacies, national chains and self-service stores. We are now focusing on private hospitals, a segment in which we are also growing and see great potential. Today, sales to the government sector represent 10 percent of Marzam’s sales, an area in which we also expect significant development given that 50 percent of Mexico’s healthcare is paid by the government. We also want to expand the number of consumer products that we manage.