Efrén Ocampo
Director General
View from the Top

Dominating Private Neuropsychiatry Market

Wed, 09/09/2015 - 12:50

Q: What is Psicofarma’s role in the Neolpharma group and how is the market for neuropsychiatric disorders growing?

A: The Neolpharma group encompasses five manufacturing companies – NeolSyM, Alpharma, Neolpharma, Psicofarma, and a company acquired in Puerto Rico – plus 14 other service providing companies. Psicofarma focuses on the private market for neuropsychiatry and is the most important company in the Neolpharma group. This a growing market, both globally and in Mexico. By number of prescriptions and product portfolio, it boasts the biggest market share in neuropsychiatry in Mexico. We have experienced doubledigit growth over the last seven years.

Q: Who are your main customers, and what are the latest trends in this specialty area?

A: Our main buyers are patients, so we approach specialized physicians such as neurologists and psychiatrists to promote our products. The recent work of a number of oncologists has linked cancer to psychological problems, meaning that specialists want their patients to be emotionally stable. Studies performed in the UK have established that lower levels of anxiety and depression lead to more patients following through in all phases of their treatment. This increased treatment efficacy has a significant impact on quality of life and remission.

Q: What are the most common mental disorders in Mexico?

A: Bipolar disorder, epilepsy, depression, and anxiety are the most prevalent mental disorders. As the Mexican population ages, conditions like Alzheimer and Parkinson’s disease become more common. Mental disorders are frequently neglected and misunderstood in Mexico because of a lack of proper information on the topic. People are not used to visiting the doctor when they feel emotionally unstable, or even when the elderly present symptoms such as dementia. This is in spite of the fact that these disorders represent a burden for patients and families alike. Such disorders still carry a stigma for the family members of patients. More education and early diagnosis, then, are essential to help people access proper treatment.

Q: What role does innovation play in your business strategy?

A: We do produce innovative drugs. One is a combination of three existing products. We have international patents in the fields of oncology and neurology that have resulted from collaborative research with UNAM. We are also conducting research in biotechnology and nanotechnology. We have launched 15 controlled products, but our aim today is to complete more new drug applications. We have a significant amount of health research ongoing in Puerto Rico, where we already have a medicine to reprogram cells against several types of cancer. It is already FDA approved for clinical trials, as an orphan drug, and its patent was recently granted in the US.

Q: Which certifications do your plants have and how does this influence you export position?

A: Our plants comply with best-practice regulations in manufacturing. The growth of COFEPRIS has helped Mexico consolidate its presence in the region. Psicofarma already exports to Central America and Pacific South America, while another project to target Atlantic South America is being developed in the medium term. Finally, our NDA product approval in the US is being submitted for drug registration in the European Community. In addition, we have joint ventures with several Indian companies, one of which is an important player, with well-established R&D and manufacturing processes for biotechnology drugs. Psicofarma is interested in producing biotechnology drugs in Mexico, importing APIs and operating some clinical trials. Our eyes are also on Chinese companies producing biopharmaceuticals. As for APIs, we acquired a manufacturing plant formerly owned by Schering Plough in Mexico, and are currently renewing it. The first phase of this project consists of supplying Neolpharma’s companies in Mexico before branching out to Puerto Rico.

Q: What is the strategy behind having a manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico?

A: Puerto Rico is under US jurisdiction, so it is an excellent platform for penetrating the American market and is a manufacturing hub for Latin American pharmaceutical companies interested in producing generics. We are working closely with the government of this country and have recently launched a product for hyperthyroidism in Puerto Rico, which represents about one third of the market share.