Probiotic Pioneer Sees a Future in GastroenterologyWed, 11/28/2018 - 18:27
Q: How do Mayoly Spindler’s Mexico operations contribute to its global activities?
A: Mayoly Spindler is a French group composed of 30 companies that focus on manufacturing, dermocosmetics and pharmaceuticals. In Mexico, we focus on pharmaceutical operations related to gastroenterology and we work with a distributor for the sale of dermocosmetics. Our Mexico offices manage all our activities in Latin America. In 2019, we will enter Guatemala and launch Probiolog IBS in Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. We are also present in Argentina and the Andean region. Mexico has a large number of adults, to whom most of our products are directed; however, the population’s purchasing power is low. For that reason, in Mexico we focus on volume sales at a lower price, while in France we prioritize price over volume.
Q: How has Mayoly Spindler influenced Mexico’s healthcare sector and practices?
A: We are pioneers in the use of probiotics in Mexico and have the largest probiotic portfolio in the country. Ten years ago, we saw a commercial opportunity here and launched the country’s first probiotic, which was a treatment for diarrhea. Together, our products target 35 percent of the most common gastroenterological diseases. In 2018, we launched a product that treats metabolic syndrome, another for diarrhea and one for constipation.
Q: How would you describe the penetration of probiotics in Mexico?
A: A market study of probiotics that we conducted in Mexico showed that about 30 percent of the population requests a probiotic from their gastroenterologist, especially in cases of irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis and gastroenteritis. Most probiotics in the market focus on diarrhea, so we are targeting other gastroenterological diseases. We are generating a culture of probiotics. A survey conducted by the National Institute of Medical Science and Nutrition Salvador Zubirán discovered that many Mexicans take probiotics without any knowledge of what they are for.
Q: How ready are doctors to prescribe probiotics?
A: Probiotics are classified as food supplements, so it was a challenge to get doctors to prescribe them. We conducted a marketing study with Mexican opinion leaders and asked if it was a problem that these products were classified as food supplements. The doctors in the survey were not concerned about labeling as long as the product was backed by scientific evidence. Before launching Iprikene, which treats diarrhea, we visited gastro-pediatricians, of whom there are very few in Mexico, to ask them about their concerns. Today, it is the most prescribed product for diarrhea. Probiolog, a diarrhea treatment that we introduced in Mexico in 2018, is fortified with zinc and meets international standards.
Q: Which new products will Mayorly Spindler introduce to Mexico in the near term and how is the market for gastroenterology products changing?
A: We are also innovating in product packaging by introducing probiotics that do not need to be encapsulated or dissolved in water and can instead be consumed on their own, which increases patient adherence. The Mexican market has slightly decreased by units while increasing in price. The gastrointestinal segment is behaving similarly, although price growth is small. During 2018, we climbed the market rankings by four positions in the gastrointestinal segment in terms of units to 47th place; we rose six positions in value to 54th. During the 12 months preceding December 2018, the overall market of gastroenterological products represented 390 billion units, for a total of MX$417.4 billion, of which Mayoly Spindler sold 126 million units.
Due to several economic factors, the only countries to report positive sales in 2018 were France and Mexico, which is Mayoly Spindler’s most profitable market and in which we hold a 10.2 percent share. The company has always grown more than the market for gastroenterological products; for example, between 2017 and 2018 the market grew by 8.4 percent but Mayoly Spindler grew by 22 percent.