Despite Regulatory Changes, Communication Channels Must Stay OpenBy Jan Hogewoning | Thu, 09/03/2020 - 09:45
Q: How has Quimpharma’s business evolved throughout the years?
A: Our company has existed for 19 years. In the beginning, we were a family-owned laboratory and we found ourselves in a climate of opportunities and fast growth. Over time, we grew into a more institutionalized company that produces more standardized products under the strict framework of evolving regulations.
We have three business lines in the medications area: oral liquids, non-oral liquids and pills. We have also ventured into traditional capsules. In the supplements and cosmetics area, we offer capsules, pills, creams and solutions. We are gradually shifting toward solids in the area of medications. Our production capacity will be further expanded with our intention to build a new plant next year. The idea is to open this facility in Mexico City. We are focusing most of our investment there, with the rest allocated to developing the best active ingredients for our products.
Q: How do you ensure the safety and quality of your pharmaceutical products?
A: We always take guidance in our regulation authority. In the beginning, we were only active in the generics area, but as we started developing our own products we become more assertive in seeking out partners throughout the supply chain, that comply with said regulation. This includes purchasing, manufacturing and the distribution process.
Q: What is your perspective on the government’s agenda?
A: The market has been affected not because COFEPRIS is in a worse state, but because everything is running slower. COFEPRIS has reached a high level of standards that is internationally renowned. We always work to meet its demands, through certified good practices, norms and licenses.
The government is attempting to change the rules in different ways. I understand there is a need to guarantee medicinal supplies and I believe the Mexican industry is capable of supplying high-quality medications at the required volume and at competitive prices. The more complex part is distribution. The government is now going directly to laboratories to purchase medications. There is a risk involved in this, as laboratories need to learn how to conduct sales procedures. Eliminating the middleman introduces other challenges too. We have high standards for medication transport and distributors ensure these standards are always met. We are also used to including distribution in our price calculation. Nonetheless, we will adapt to the condition established by the market. Generally, changes in government purchases do not affect us that much because 85 percent of our clients are from the private sector. Currently, you see more laboratories trying to expand their portfolio in the private sector to safeguard their business. We have the benefit of knowing how to operate in this sector already.
Q: What is your opinion on opening the market to generics manufacturers from abroad?
A: Our own industry is capable of meeting the demands of this market. However, I do not see this as a problem, as long as all other players are bound to the same standards of regulations as we are. COFEPRIS is very strict with us, so it should act similarly with foreign companies.
Q: What is the state of generics manufacturing in Mexico?
A: Many laboratories are working hard to meet COFEPRIS’ new demands. A lot of pressure is being applied to eliminate any form of corruption. We are all for that. However, at times it has led to delays from authorities, which paralyzes the industry. There should be strong cooperation between the sanitary and health authorities and the laboratories to ensure that innovation and new developments can continue. This is foremost dependent on transparent communication channels. The desire to rectify things is understandable, but those channels between the manufacturers and COFEPRIS have to exist.
Q: What are your priorities in the short term?
A: We want to continue broadening our product lines and stay ahead of the curve in terms of innovation and development. However, we are taking a more conservative approach and avoiding high-risk investments. In terms of export plans, we already have a market in Guatemala and Costa Rica selling through distributors and local pharmacy chains. However, we would like to create a direct channel with our clients there. We want to cover all of Central America eventually.
Quimpharma is a Mexican laboratory that develops, manufactures and distributes pharmaceutical products, food supplements and cosmetics, both nationally and internationally