Innovation and Regulation Keys to Improving SystemWed, 09/05/2018 - 12:16
Q: Menarini is an Italian pharmaceutical focused on OTCs. In what areas do you see potential in Mexico and Latin America?
A: Latin America is an interesting pharmaceutical market with potential. We have a strong presence in Guatemala and we have been working for 35 years in Central America. In the rest of Latin America, we are expecting a significant growth in the next few years. In the near future, we have a strategy to take full advantage of the opportunities in the region and Mexico and Brazil are the markets where we have identified the greatest potential. As part of this strategy, we want to focus on different therapeutic areas, mainly in cardiology and gastroenterology. We are also evaluating the introduction of a dermatological product line and consumer OTC products.
Q: How does Menarini use innovation to address the main health concerns of the Mexican population?
A: Menarini is investigating different molecules in the five research centers that we have in Europe and in other centers. We also modify the molecules to create new products, although this takes a long time to achieve and is an expensive process. We have plans to include more innovation within our product lines. Our goal is that these new molecules offer more therapeutic benefits and fewer side effects.
Q: What research opportunities has Menarini identified in Mexico?
A: The pharmaceutical industry in Mexico has been working with other key stakeholders to attract more clinical studies from European, US and other foreign companies. Mexico has infrastructure, research centers, doctors and enough patients. In the long run, this will improve the access to innovative products for the public health system and private sector. Mexico should offer the research segment the same quality and service standard that is offered in other countries. For instance, in the US more than US$160 billion is invested in research, of which 60 percent goes to clinical studies. There is great potential, but we need to be more competitive. Currently, Menarini is developing a product in Mexico; once the development is finished, the clinical trials will be carried out in the country. We are working in partnership with the University of Veracruz, the Monterrey National Autonomous University and with some hospitals. COFEPRIS is also collaborating with us in this process.
Q: What do international companies expect from the Mexican healthcare market?
A: The population pyramid is reversing, the birth rate is declining and the population is aging, which represents a potential market for companies. Therefore, they are focusing on chronic illnesses and/or noncommunicable diseases. The improvement of health systems in Mexico will generate more demand. In Mexico, health-related markets are growing much more than in other parts of the world, so this is an opportunity.
Q: How can the industry contribute to a healthier Mexico?
A: It is important that in Mexico we move from a treatment scheme to a preventive scheme. This is a cultural change that requires time, maybe generations, but it has proven to be successful in the countries where it has been adopted. We need to move in this direction. The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education have been working together to implement new procedures and to teach children how to take care of their health, which is where the cultural change will take place. Despite the existence of IMSS, ISSSTE, Seguro Popular and other health institutions, there is a percentage of the population that has very limited access to these services. For these reasons, it is important that we quickly enact a Health Reform. Some corporate organizations such as CCE and CONCAMIN have been working on the development of a proposal for a health reform, which will be presented to the next administration.