Karel Fucikovsky
Director General
Pierre Fabre Médicament
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View from the Top

Science, Talent Key to Successful Products

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 11:58

Q: How has demand for Pierre Fabre’s cancer product Navelbine Oral and its mainstay Fabroven evolved in Mexico?

A: Until 2016, Navelbine was the leading product in our oncology portfolio in the Mexican market, indicated for patients with breast and lung cancer. At the end of 2016, a new local generics competitor in the oral form of administration entered the market, which reduced our share. So far, despite this new competitive environment, Navelbine oral continues to grow and remains the market leader in the Vinorelbine oral segment.

Fabroven, the first product developed by Dr. Pierre Fabre, is a combination of ruscus extract, ascorbic acid and hesperidin methyl chalcone and it is indicated for the treatment of blood vessel conditions. After 50 years, this product continues to enjoy growth in sales in both the public and retail sectors. Fabroven has received the Grade A recognition for medicinal products, which places it in a better position in terms of scientific robustness. This certification will allow this mature product to continue surging in sales.

Q: How does Pierre Fabre remain competitive in the face of generics?

A: What makes products successful is the science behind them, whether they are generics or innovative, but a strong a commercial, sales and marketing mix is also fundamental. However, above all, it is the human talent. Our strong investment efforts are directed at training and compensating our sales and marketing collaborators.

Q: Which new products will Pierre Fabre introduce into the Mexican market in 2018?

A: After six years, we obtained the sanitary registration for Verephen, a product produced by our partner Medigene. Verephen is a phyto-pharmaceutical that has an equivalent efficacy to other medications in its class for the treatment of genital warts. While the market for Verephen is not too large, this product will complement Pierre Fabre’s existing product portfolio for women’s health, an area in which we plan to continue focusing alongside oncology. Pierre Fabre is also developing two new molecules acquired in joint efforts with Array BioPharma. We hope that these products bring new hope and improved quality of life to patients.

Q: What is Pierre Fabre’s strategy for Mexico?

A: In Mexico, we are focused on two strategic imperatives: continue the organic growth of our products in the woman’s health segment and increase our footprint in the oncology and bone marrow transplant markets. We will also continue looking for local partnerships similar to the existing alliance we have with Ferring Pharmaceuticals. We are also actively analyzing possible local acquisitions of companies or portfolios that fit our main activities.

Q: How can regulation evolve to improve access to innovative medicines?

A: Ideally, governmental administrations would work closely with industry chambers such as AMIIF and CANIFARMA and place a greater emphasis on fast-tracking innovative medications to accelerate their entrance into the market. Not all innovation is high cost. Industry chambers must continue to work together and act as a buffer between pharmaceutical companies and authorities to help us communicate the benefits for patients of innovative medications. All players in the industry would gain from working together.

Q: How can Big Pharma increase patient awareness of the benefits of innovative medicines?

A: This is an expensive area as it requires a significant marketing investment and close collaboration with medical societies and key physicians. Also, having the support of the main regulatory institutions and chambers strengthens these programs and allows them to reach the vast majority of the population.

For our melanoma treatment products to come, we plan to work more closely with key oncology societies and centers, as well as with the dermatology community. We also have a strong footprint with this community thanks to our products and we see an opportunity to realize synergies between both high-end medical specialties.

Q: What are Pierre Fabre’s short-term plans for Mexico?

A: We will continue expanding our brands and increasing market access. Accessing the institutional market in Mexico is challenging and requires real expertise. The sector has too many players and those that want to succeed must have robust teams with full know-how. We fully understand that the public healthcare system and institutions are under strong continued budget pressure, but this does not mean that innovation cannot have a fundamental role in the segment.

2018 will be a complex and challenging year both for the retail and the public markets. The retail segment will remain relatively stagnant in terms of growth. We will also see more disruption in the distribution arena, as chain pharmacies will continue to seek direct purchases from laboratories and independent pharmacies will continue to downsize in numbers. The institutional markets will also face strong budget constraints and seek efficiencies and consolidated purchases will be a constant.

Q: Considering this competitive panorama, what are Pierre Fabre’s growth expectations?

A: Pierre Fabre will continue to believe and invest in Mexico. We trust in our products, we are strongly motivated and committed to continue delivering therapeutic solutions to physicians and patients, plus novel alternatives to come. We fully acknowledge that growth will also come while we remain strong in working together with the medical community, the different chambers, regulatory agencies, the distribution networks and fostering a more professional team of collaborators within our company