Rima Alameddine
Vice President & General Manager, Latin America
CR Bard
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View from the Top

Latin America in the Spotlight

Wed, 09/09/2015 - 15:24

Q: How does the Mexican market compare to the rest of Latin America?

A: Bard Mexico celebrated its 20th anniversary a few months ago, making Mexico our longest standing base in the region by far. Our growth here has passed through various phases. Four years ago, for instance, we began to take steps to expand our market presence to a point which covered the entire country. Our five divisions now have distribution partners nationwide. Mexico’s role in Latin America is a major one, both in terms of revenue and recognition. Finally, the strong brand recognition we enjoy here is a significant factor in operating on the scale that we do. This means that new channel partners tend to be very receptive to collaborating with us.

Q: What are the divisions of Bard here in Mexico?

A: First, Bard Access Systems (BAS) provides all of our access catheters. Bard Peripheral Vascular (BPV) provides devices such as stents that prevent blood clots from traveling to the lungs. Bard Medical Division (BMD) is diverse and, along with the Foley and Sunza supplies, encapsulates colostomy bags for urinary tract infections and gastrointestinal issues. Another path we are exploring is patient temperature management, effective in preventing brain damage and other complications during certain procedures. Our fourth division is Bard Biopsy Systems (BBS), which supplies a range of biopsy devices for various parts of the anatomy. Finally, Davol covers hernia repair. While all five have been growing, access systems are particularly strong at present since we are generating enormous amounts of information. For example, we have been demonstrating to the medical community the benefits of inserting a peripheral catheter rather than putting it into the jugular or inserting an intravenous (IV) catheter. As a result, the BAS division has enjoyed accelerated growth.

Q: Who are your main clients within the public and private sectors in Mexico?

A: The private sector accounts for about 70% of our business, with public health accounting for the rest. However, we have a presence in both sets of institutions. Our main private-sector clients are the ABC, Star Médica, Médica Sur, and Grupo Angeles hospital chains. We work with a number of public health institutes, including the National Institute of Oncology (INCAN), the National Institute of Pediatrics (INP), and the National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery (INNN). While we would like to boost our public-sector presence, this depends on the registration processes and requirements of the National Institutes of Health. Once we meet these requirements, we will shift our focus to obtaining tenders.

Q: Do you think it is necessary to have a universal, homogenized regulation within the Latin American region?

A: It would be incredibly beneficial, not just to the industry but to the economy, if Latin America implemented a common, regional framework for regulation for all new product registrations. It is extremely challenging and expensive for companies to invest and explore the market because registration is required individually in every country. Most of the revenue from the Latin American region comes from regulated countries. Given that some registrations can take up to a year and a half to be approved, patients are being deprived of access to the best technology, the best products and the best medical devices.

Q: Do you have manufacturing plants in Latin America and specifically in Mexico?

A: Our BAS division has three manufacturing plants in in Nogales, Reynosa, and Ciudad Juarez. These plants were chosen due to their strategic position close to the border with the US. In this way they can support the entire manufacturing process north of the border, while still availing of the costs and logistics advantages gained through operating in Mexico. The products are partially assembled in Mexico, and subsequently sent to the US for completion. From the US, they are distributed within Latin America and all over the world.

Q: What is the role of integrators in Mexico?

A: One single provider whose portfolio includes contracts, maintenance, payments, and processes is extremely useful. This is where integrated services have played a vital role in Mexico. Some even have the capacity to overhaul whole systems, providing not only technology and hardware, but also carrying out site adjustments so as to begin operations at optimum capacity.