Q: Overweight and obesity was declared an epidemic in Mexico in late 2016. How has this impacted your operations?
A: We have been focused on this problem for many years, but having overweight and obesity declared an epidemic helps us with the diffusion of knowledge because it generates a higher consciousness that it is a problem, a chronic disease. When the company was first founded, obesity was not seen as an epidemic but as an aesthetic problem. We must still figure out how to face this and how to reduce prevalence rates. Mexico has done a great job in generating consciousness, due in part to the government’s sponsorship of a large number of campaigns, although there is still a great deal of work to do. Habits need to change, which is difficult. Education also plays an important role. Overweight and obesity in children is more serious than these issues in the general population, yet, children suffering from these problems almost certainly will continue to do so in adulthood. Childhood overweight and obesity is also more difficult to solve because they are still growing, so restricting nutrition is not as simple as in adults. Despite the declaration having awoken consciousness, the solution remains a puzzle.
Q: The ENSANUT 2016 results show overweight and obesity is considered a problem for other people. How is Medix addressing this?
A: ENSANUT 2016 was representative of how people see themselves versus how they are. There are two ways of convincing people they have a problem. The health side is more complicated, as often people do not feel ill. By posing overweight and obesity as a health problem, people do not identify with this. We have taken a different approach, focusing on aesthetics and wellbeing. We ask patients if they would like to change their image. If we ask what a person’s goal is, perhaps to play football with their children or go camping, but they are generally too tired to do so, this could be a target. Among people who are trying to lose weight, 70 percent are doing it for image and 30 percent for health. We help people reach their goals safely, which is vital. To drop a large amount of weight quickly is bad for one’s health and in the longterm, the body responds negatively to this.
Q: What are your priorities for 2017?
A: For both 2017 and 2018, we will be focusing on increasing sales. We grew by 7 percent in 2016 despite uncertain global conditions. Our target is 20 percent growth in sales in 2017 and we also want to maintain a profitable model that satisfies shareholders as well as employees. In addition, Medix will be working on the consolidation of its model and expanding sales channels. Database and knowledge integration will be improved to offer more options in the future, factoring in Big Data. Medix is working on a geographical expansion to have an important impact on the health of other countries. We are the biggest company offering obesity solutions in Mexico and we want to achieve this in Latin America too.
Q: Does that expansion plan also include acquisitions?
A: We are pursuing businesses in Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay, Peru, Colombia and Europe. Our strategy is to build partnerships with major market players in each country, not only in the pharmaceutical sector but in logistics and distribution as well. We are always looking for opportunities to expand our product portfolios in the markets in which we are already present. In addition, Medix is working on an e-learning project with the objective of creating an overweight and obesity community across different countries, with specialists who can share experiences and knowledge in this field.