Eduardo Trueba
Director General
ETrueba Distribuciones Farmacéuticas
View from the Top

Market Saturation Spurs New Business Strategy

Mon, 07/08/2019 - 17:07

Q: What makes ETrueba Distribuciones Farmacéuticas different from other companies that offer similar services?
A: Much has changed in the 60 years we have been in the industry. My grandfather, who was a pharmacologist, cooked and prepared his own medicine. As years passed, he started distributing medicine from national laboratories to clients. My father developed our supplier catalog and always tried to find new ways to distribute products.
Ten years ago, our place in the distribution chain changed. Pharmacies started to manage the whole supply chain and to effectively skip the middleman by dealing directly with laboratories. These chains were much bigger players and had access to a lot of capital. This forced us to find new market niches by expanding our catalog and type of clients. We moved to a B2B model and stopped supplying doctors, pharmacies and clinics. Instead, we focused on companies that are not necessarily in the health sector but do have internal health services. This move suited our strength of providing integrated solutions. Our clients require consistent deliveries, steady prices and efficient billing mechanisms. Our mission remains to understand our clients’ needs and try to cover them in every single way.  
Q: What are the strongest products in your portfolio?
A: We handle generics, patented products, healing material and medical equipment. Every one of these has a different margin. My philosophy is to solve clients’ problems and that means providing whatever product they need. About 50 percent of our distribution focuses on medication and 50 percent on medical equipment and healing materials.  
Q: What is your relationship with the public side of the industry?
A: Working with the government used to be fairly easy until a year ago. Now, tender requirements have become too complex. ETrueba Distribuciones Farmacéuticas has a solid history and a healthy record. We meet all the necessary regulations and norms, which is one of the reasons why banks come flocking to us with credit proposals. We also have the advantage of being well-established and having significant market experience, which gives us the opportunity to guide others in tender processes. However, due to the current political reality, we are not really focusing on the public sector. Furthermore, we are not interested in hospitals, public or private, because it is a niche that is already saturated. Private companies are more suitable for our current business model.
Q: What is your strategy for expansion and growth in the country?
A: We would like to attract a greater number of clients and grow the volume of products supplied. Our operations are spread across Yucatan, Campeche and Quintana Roo and we still have much potential for growth. There is a great deal of work to do to consolidate this area. This will keep us busy for the foreseeable future. If we decide to expand beyond these states, it would be to Veracruz or Chiapas.
Q: What are your main three near-term goals?
A: We have seen average annual growth of 25 percent in revenue since 2017. Despite not being directly hit by economic challenges, some of our clients do feel the impact. This year, we want to grow at least at the same rate as last year and become the prime supplier for our clients. We also want to be seen as a trustworthy partner for hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and the government. In terms of territory, we want to consolidate our operations in the Yucatan peninsula or the Southeast. As a company that provides health products, our obligation remains to the person who will receive the medicine or treatment, which is why we strive to meet all regulatory norms and maintain our ethical standards.