Miguel Salazar
President and Country Managing Director
Boehringer Ingelheim Mexico and Central America
View from the Top

Mexican Mindset Underpins Growth

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 12:51

Q: What are the highlights of your new plant?

A: As one of Boehringer Ingelheim’s top 10 units, Boehringer Ingelheim Mexico has influence over decisions, one of which was to designate Boehringer Ingelheim Mexico as a strategic global production hub for the world. This is due to the quality of production. We are still the only Mexican pharmaceutical company allowed to export veterinary, OTC and prescription drugs to the US. We have been approved by the FDA since 1998. We have one of Boehringer Ingelheim’s five strategic plants across the world. Ours will be specialized in diabetes and our import- export volumes will increase.

Q: How do you adapt to the changing economic landscape?

A: A distinctive characteristic of Boehringer Ingelheim is the way we plan for the future. We do not plan in terms of euros, dollars or pesos. We think in terms of how many patients can benefit from our treatments. We are very clear. We do not do everything; we concentrate on specific therapeutic areas in line with the Mexican population and aging. Diabetes, oncology, respiratory diseases and cardiology are clear areas of focus. Our strategy is not to diversify but to concentrate. However, we must overcome many hurdles, mostly related to access.

The government is proposing budget cuts and we are trying to help them assess those from a different perspective since they could adversely affect patients. The population is getting older. The problem lies within the costly impact of diseases in the elderly. We must plan for this as a country. Boehringer Ingelheim is investing heavily in ethical and compliant ways of providing access to patients, independently of whether they are in the government, the private sector, with or without insurance, in urban centers or in rural areas. The idea is to allow as many patients as possible to have access to our products if those products are suitable for them.

Q: What advantages of the Mexican market allowed you to become the ninth top subsidiary in Boehringer Ingelheim?

A: Mexico has quality, trustworthiness and reliability of processes and products. Our corporate authorities think beyond the quarterly reports of the markets as we are privately owned. We are much more prepared for the long term. We have demonstrated that with sufficient empowerment, we are able to deliver quality products in addition to timely sales.

Q: What were the reasons behind the decision to invest more in your veterinary division?

A: Worldwide, there are two areas of innovation in Boehringer Ingelheim. One is human pharmaceuticals and the other is veterinary health products. We are convinced our animal health business is going to double rapidly in terms of size. We plan to invest and transform the products, becoming the number one company in the Mexican market. Hopefully this will happen by 2017.

Q: What are your new investment plans?

A: We are going to increase our investment in animal health tremendously and we are looking to almost double our infrastructure. In terms of human pharmaceutical products, we will be expanding our diabetes range by three to five products over the next three years. We are going to be launching CNS products by 2018. We are the highest ranked manufacturer of biosimilars in the world. We will also be delivering a large number of products for oncology.

Q: What challenges have you encountered from the structural change in COFEPRIS and how do you convince public institutions to opt for your innovative products?

A: The changes in COFEPRIS have been well received. The commissioner and his predecessor share a passion for simplifying things. That is good news for the country. The commissioner is open to innovation and other alternatives such as biosimilars. We have discussed this topic with him extensively and we think he has the right mindset but he also knows it is not an executive decision he can take. He must create a multi-disciplinary team with different points of view and perspectives. I think this is the strength of COFEPRIS today.