Pharmaceutical Industry at the Front Line of the PandemicBy Andrea Villar | Wed, 01/27/2021 - 12:30
The pharmaceutical industry is going through intensive therapy, not as a patient but as an ally in supporting the health sector and its users, agreed industry experts on Wednesday, Jan. 27, during the first virtual edition of Mexico Health Summit. “The industry is trying to help patients. The pandemic has certainly complicated things for both the public and private sector but as an industry, we are trying to be as collaborative and creative as we can to move forward,” stated Arturo de la Rosa, General Manager of AbbVie Mexico.
Despite the challenges, de la Rosa added, the current crisis has allowed the pharmaceutical industry to prove its worth. “Now is when we show our strength and value. Due to the industry's innovation effort in developing a vaccine, the world can see a nearer end to the pandemic. Vaccine development is the only thing allowing for a return to normality Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry still has to overcome major obstacles,” he noted.
One of these challenges is the approval of molecules and government authorizations that have been put on hold due to the pandemic, panelists noted. Juan Luis Serrano, Life Sciences and Intellectual Property Partner at Sánchez Devanny, stressed that the state and regulatory agencies have no reason to do this despite the COVID-19 crisis. “API approvals were stopped as they were not labeled as an essential activity. But everything that is done in this industry is essential: vaccines and treatment of chronic and non-chronic diseases. It is all about patient support,” Serrano pointed out.
"We have seen how miracle products are being sold to prevent COVID-19 infection, for example. To avoid that, a regulatory agency is needed. I do not consider that stopping has been the best strategy and it is important that the authorities rethink their strategy," said Serrano.
If action is not taken in time, added Karel Fucikovsky, Pharma Director at Pierre Fabre Mexico, the health system will lose the opportunity to improve in Mexico for at least the next five years. "Since before the pandemic, it does not seem that innovation, development and technology are priorities of the federal government. Now we are running against time," he said.
Nearshoring, boosted by the pandemic, is one of the country's opportunities to support the local industry and to strengthen the sector. “It is necessary to attract productive chains to Mexico. Local companies are concerned about getting ahead in the face of purchasing processes with international companies that have not gone through the same regulations as companies in Mexico,” said Arturo de la Rosa, General Manager of AbbVie Mexico. “You also have to have the same level of intellectual property protection as them so there is no unfair competition,” he added.
“We have to work together with the authorities to show that local pharmaceutical innovation proposals can help solve many of the problems we are currently experiencing,” added Fucikovsky.“Today is the time to unite, more than before, and to seek the empathy from authorities regarding our value propositions. A united country is a more productive country,” he said.
On the legal side, Juan Luis Serrano noted, there has to be an approach that involves the entire pharmaceutical industry supply chain. "The objective is the same. We all want the system to be better, that the level of care is excellent and that if we have a condition we get the best possible treatment."
"The rule of law, clear rules for all, and open and transparent dialogue with the state allow us to know how companies will compete. The worst thing that can happen is that we are seen as a divided sector," Serrano concluded.