Dagoberto Cortés
Director General
View from the Top

The Gradual Takeover of Latin America's Pharmaceutical Market

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 12:47

Q: How does Grupo Sanfer maintain its operational efficiency considering the many companies that make up the group?

A: Grupo Sanfer is constituted by three different companies: Laboratorios Sanfer, Laboratorios Hormona and Morepharma. To make our budgets and operations more efficient, we gather all common services, such as human, legal and production resources. In this way, a single group performs all services, which allows us to reduce costs. On the other hand, we divide our portfolio into seven independent business units and each one has its own marketing, medical representatives, medical and market research division. We optimized our sales force so medical representatives only present products from their division. This simplifies our operations and allows medical representatives to become experts in their field.

Q: How does Grupo Sanfer contribute to the generation of new health solutions?

A: Grupo Sanfer performs R&D for the generation of added-value generics and we have patented some of our discoveries with the Mexican Institute of Intellectual Property (IMPI). We do not invest in the development of new drugs but in technological development for the generation of new formulations, drug combinations and new delivery methods. In the latter case, we are researching new ways for medicines to be absorbed by the body. We have developed a pill that controls the absorption of dicloxacillin, an antibiotic that has to be taken every six hours. Our delivery system permits a controlled release of the medication over 12 hours. Thus, patients only need to take the pill twice a day.

We also generate new combination pills as about 95 percent of therapies for cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes require several drugs taken simultaneously. This means that patients with hypertension often take up to three different drugs to control their disease and many of them also need to take other medications for associated diseases. For that reason, it is easier for them to adhere to the medication regime if its presented to them in a single pill instead of several. Our combination products have received COFEPRIS’ approval as they have proven themselves to be safe, trustworthy and effective.

Q: How is Grupo Sanfer capitalizing on its existing capabilities to expand and what regions is the company looking at?

A: Our expansion strategy was to find key countries from which to reach the rest of the region. We entered Argentina after buying a company named Pharmadorf. This acquisition allowed us to penetrate the Argentinian market and take advantage of the company’s export permits for several European countries. In 2016, we opened Sanfer Chile, followed by Sanfer Ecuador. One year later we acquired 51 percent of Laboratorios Portugal, the second-largest pharmaceutical in that country, which had a broad product portfolio that included generics, OTCs and cosmetics and exports to Europe and Asia. For Central America we created Sanfer Panama, from where we manage all exports and businesses from Mexico to some countries in the region. We have representatives in Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador who receive all their products from Panama.

Having operations in Colombia, Chile and Peru allowed us to take advantage of the Pacific Alliance, which promotes exchange of workers and products across its member countries. Furthermore, Peru, Chile and Mexico are part of the CPTPP, which will allow us to export to Australia, Vietnam, Canada, Brunei and Japan.

Grupo Sanfer’s products are available in all the countries south of Mexico. Our priority is to consolidate the Central and South American market and, although we do not have a franchise in Brazil, we do sell products in the country. Brazil’s market is hard to enter but it is also the largest market in the region. For 2018, Sanfer’s main priorities are to consolidate its investments.