Juan José Aguirre
Commercial Director
Grupo Bruluart
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The Best Recommendation is Based on Results: Grupo Bruluart

By Miriam Bello | Thu, 08/20/2020 - 13:01

Q: How has the pandemic affected demand for your products, especially respiratory medication?

A: Information related to COVID-19 changes drastically from one week to another. This constant shift impacts demand for certain things, such as paracetamol, although the impact has been minor. However, we did experience disruption of our logistics because there was a global delay on supply chains as the virus spread. Some of our raw materials and supplies come from China and India, which were among the first countries to close borders and implement restrictions on exports to secure their supply for internal consumption. As a result, we had orders backed up for weeks. We started to look for authorized providers here in Mexico to avoid halting production.

Before COVID-19, our line of antihistamines had been growing and developing smoothly in Mexico, given the presence of allergies and respiratory ailments caused by the weather and pollution. Due to the pandemic, this natural growth for our respiratory products has slowed down.

Q: What is the reach of your distribution services for independent pharmacies?

A: We have distribution centers, called Medicine Depot, that work like a wholesale shop. Independent pharmacies can supply customers after proper registration and following our authentication process. These shops allow us to cover the entire country.

Q: What other market niches has Grupo Bruluart identified in 2020?

A: Hypertension is a growing trend in Mexico. We only have a few products directed to that ailment but we are starting to address it. Sexual health is another growing trend. Contraceptive use has increased a great deal as a result of the change in societal mindset. Grupo Bruluart has been working on campaigns to prevent unwanted pregnancies and we are working on a stronger communication strategy to announce our products.

Instead of being a medicine provider, we are a health provider. Our efforts our focused on seeing medicine as preventive rather than corrective. Through digital platforms and physical magazines, we distribute information and advise patients on living healthy lifestyles.

Q: How has the use of technology in logistics helped the company to face the COVID-19 crisis?

A: Our mindset shifted to a digital vision, which has led us to integrate more technological tools to help make our logistics more agile. COVID-19 was a global phenomenon and even though we were prepared with stock and competitive logistics, the impact was and still is hard to predict.

We created a business intelligence department a year ago. Through it, we had been able to use data in our favor. The initiative is still pretty new so there is little historical record to base on, but we are already working on creating a robust database to, in the future, be able to make better predictions and build intelligent business strategies to be more purposeful.

Q: What has been the reception of Bruluart’s multivitamins given the fact that Mexicans are not very health-focused?

A: Our advantage is that Grupo Bruluart’s products are almost a reference in Mexico. Products are known by name, not as a “supplement” or a “multivitamin.” Such is the case of Tribedoce. This has become a referent for different ailments or discomforts and this is the result of our work in the market. We have one of the strongest facilities for injectable product manufacturing in the country and this has secured product supply at all times and helped with promotion. For Tribedoce we did not have to create a massive promotional campaign since the product is well-known and always available. We have started to receive requests from the US to test Tribedoce.

Another factor that has contributed to the growth of this product is that culturally, Mexicans believe that injections are more effective than tablets or oral medications, even though that it is not always the case. Tribedoce is a complex B injection that is an ideal supplement to make people feel better instantly. Combined with these other factors, the product has been a success.

Q: What are the company’s strategies in terms of growth?

A: We are looking toward the North American market and after COVID-19 has passed, we will reinforce our work in the region. Aside from the pandemic, another factor that slowed our growth was the country’s uncertainty regarding public healthcare operations. The sector has experienced several changes since the beginning of López Obrador’s administration. Unclear protocols and protracted action from the authorities are never positive for the private sector. For example, not knowing the process for tenders has impacted the whole sector because we do not know if the way we are working with them now will be the same tomorrow, so we need to be careful before we dive in.

Because of the uncertainty regarding the public sector, we have been focusing on the private sector, betting on a new growth strategy for our pharmacy chain because it has been growing organically. Investing more in it will strengthen its development. We are also interested in supporting independent pharmacies through or distribution services.

As a result of the pandemic, we foresee growth in generic purchases as the economic impact will force some patients turn to those excellent alternatives instead of investing in brand medications.

 

Grupo Bruluart is a Mexican group specialized in generics. It has four divisions: Bruluagsa, a medicine laboratory; IM Bruluart, a medication manufacturer; Brudifarma, a distributor and logistics operator; and Farmacias Gi, a pharmacy chain

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst