Carlos Sancho Mateo
Area Director Latam and USA
MEDICE Arzneimittel Pütter GmbH & Co. KG
Expert Contributor

Business Development Activities During COVID-19

By Carlos Sancho Mateo | Fri, 11/27/2020 - 08:59

MEDICE is one of the most successful owner-managed family businesses in the German pharmaceutical industry. For over 70 years, we have been setting standards with a deep sense of responsibility, innovative prowess and sustainable performance and are already proving in the third generation that fairness, humanity and trust form an excellent basis for economic success.

We laid the foundation for the international success of MEDICE in South Westphalia, one of Germany’s most important industrial regions. Today, we supply our medicinal products from our locations in Iserlohn, Cologne, and Munich throughout Europe; we are active in almost 50 other countries through our partners by means of long-term agreements.

In recent years, we have especially concentrated on building up a powerful global sales network. We have had great success because the outstanding quality and effectiveness of our medicinal products and therapeutic approaches is limitless. Our striving for the best possible solution, verifiable healing, protection or improved quality of life determines our entrepreneurial actions. 
As part of our solid internationalization, at the end of 2019, MEDICE decided to open its first office in Latin America, specifically in Mexico City.

One of our best internationally positioned products is Medikinet Retard, a proprietary methylphenidate long-sustained-release formulation for the treatment of ADHD, which ranks first in Europe and already has a presence in seven countries of Central America.

One of the main challenges for 2020 was launching Medikinet Retard in Costa Rica. The official launch event was scheduled and organized for March 2020, when COVID-19 was classified as a global pandemic.
During this whole period, we tested the adaptation and flexibility of all parts involved in the launching process:

  • Colleagues from the regulatory department appealing to local authorities which remained closed.
  • Coworkers of medical and marketing departments postponing all kinds of face-to-face activities.
  • Sales reps in their respective homes without being able to carry out their work.
  • Managers and executives taking decisions with wide margins of uncertainty.

As a global pharmaceutical company tackling therapeutic areas like ADHD and nephrology, MEDICE knows that the most important part of this whole process is the patient’s well-being. Therefore, MEDICE has the obligation to provide solutions to such situations of high uncertainty, due to this responsibility for the doctors and their patients’ success.

Overall, pharmaceutical industry events are characterized by offering a social platform for the doctors to interrelate and exchange scientific knowledge as well as clinical experiences. COVID-19 has drastically reduced the social interaction component, which has wiped out any possibility to deliver social events.

However, it’s written in human nature that any situation that forces human beings to step out of their comfort zone provides opportunities to foster healthy competition and innovation. Consequently, digital platforms have become the main communication and social interaction tool as an adaptive response to the denominated “new normality.”
Therefore, in the case of launching Medikinet Retard in Costa Rica, all face-to-face activities were replaced by digital activities, with a strong training and educational component to keep up the social interaction, which by default is diminished when using digital platforms.  

The implemented strategy was conducted through the participation of key opinions leaders who delivered updates on the latest innovation therapies for ADHD treatment, emphasizing the introduction of digital tools and mobile applications to keep up the adherence to the pharmacological treatment, as well as to create awareness about digital therapy as the next approaching level for ADHD patients. In addition to this, guests were able to participate by sharing their clinical experiences through queries to the speakers.

Initially, the call was intended only for doctors from Costa Rica. However, it was extended to the rest of the Central American countries where Medikinet Retard is already in the market.  The result was surprising since the participation exceeded all expectations, with more than 230 doctors from seven Central American countries, connected online.

For MEDICE, this is a tangible demonstration of the confidence showed by the doctors not only in our products but in MEDICE as a scientific company that takes care of its doctors, providing platforms and structures to upgrade their knowledge. The final beneficiaries are the patients. 
This convening power was very gratifying, and we are satisfied with the adaptability shown by all the parties involved throughout the launching process, chiefly by our distribution partner. This allows MEDICE to be aware that future face-to-face events can be held again, and a strong digital component will be implemented to reach a larger audience.

We can conclude that launching Medikinet Retard in a fully digital format allowed us to reach a broader public but, at the end of the day, it is the confidence of our collaborators within MEDICE that defines the success of our message. Keeping up such reliance is essential given that the so-called “new normality” is likely to stay with us for a bit.

Photo by:   Carlos Sancho Mateo