Regina Hernández
Healthcare Projects Director
Akza
/
View from the Top

Commercial Strategies Spur Health Solutions

By Miriam Bello | Tue, 02/09/2021 - 11:25

Q: What added value do you bring to the healthcare industry?

A: We are a consultancy company dedicated to business strategy development. In the health sector, we are the face of new companies that wish to enter the country. Through our work with other industries, we have consolidated a strong network to provide certainty and solve our clients’ commercial needs.

One thing that plays in our favor is our knowledge of the national regulatory system. Akza is not in charge of clients’ regulatory process. However, we create a type of roadmap for companies to know what they should do to be successful in the market they wish to enter. The difference is that we include regulation and companies’ needs in these recommendations.

Our work with the government is a valuable asset to our potential clients, especially during the COVID-19 crisis. To put this in perspective, during challenging moments of the pandemic there was a global need for nitrogen and oxygen. However, there are only three suppliers of these goods globally. Within this scenario, Akza worked as an adviser to the Mexican government to support decision-making processes related to nitrogen and oxygen providers. Our direct client is not the government. However, we carry out detailed research, selecting the companies that can meet compliance requirements.

Our health division was created because of supply needs stemming from the pandemic, specifically from one state looking for ventilators in 2020. Akza took advantage of its relationships and networking base to respond to this specific need and we realized we had the potential to support companies in other healthcare areas. The government also benefits from this as officials do not have to contact a company directly, which sometimes causes speculation or conflicts of interest. We normally gather a pool of three to four companies that can work with the government.

Q: How do you select the companies that you work with to present them to the government?

A: We rely on the company’s excellence. Regardless of size, Akza is very strict when it comes to compliance, transparency, results and good practices. We pick the client through an in-depth study of the market and the specific needs we identify in Mexico. The same thing goes for governments. We always work with transparent and executive governments whether at the municipal, state or federal levels.

Q: Within healthcare, what other sectors are interesting for Akza?

A: We are looking for ways to improve COVID-19 vaccination in Mexico. We would like to offer solutions to address three key points in this process: acquisition, distribution and access. Regarding the logistics of distribution, the government has been very reserved. However, we are certain that we could provide special input by analyzing other countries’ processes. For instance, we have a work relationship with the Israeli government, which is the country with the highest vaccination rate. The country is willing to share its distribution and access plan for the COVID-19 vaccine.

We are in constant communication with key stakeholders and decision-makers, so we know what issues to approach and what solutions would best suit the sector.

Q: What are the major trends that Akza has spotted among its clients?

A: Telehealth is a growing area. ECR and the interconnection of databases among different entities also have the potential to be exploited in Mexico. The problem that I see is that we would first have to cover the basic necessities of the sector, such as medicine supply, equipment, infrastructure and medical staff. This does not compromise the country’s potential in telehealth but it does limit the potential investment coming from the government, as it must focus on covering primary needs first.

Medical cannabis is another potential market opportunity to exploit in Mexico. However, I would like to see more political will before I would encourage my clients to enter this market.

Q: How do you think changes to public tenders will affect the national industry?

A: The Mexican government has not been clear enough regarding operational guidelines. As I understand it, the government has faced challenges with the distribution through UNOPS as it seems the organization does not have the capacity or experience for a large tender process. Consequently, I do not recommend my clients to dabble into that process. However, there are local companies that have experience with those tender processes and they are willing to collaborate with the federal government.

Q: What trends do you see in terms of public-private collaboration in healthcare?

A: The perfect example to follow is the COVID-19 hospital at the Citibanamex Center. This joint effort has delivered great results regarding patient attention and it is a clear example of how a strong will can deliver effective results for better outcomes.

 

Akza is a business strategy and intelligence consulting firm that specializes in supporting companies that participate in large-scale public and private projects in the infrastructure, health, defense and technology sectors.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst