Efrén Ocampo
Grupo Neolpharma
View from the Top

Strategies to Address Limited Access to Care

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 11:34

Q: What market niches is Grupo Neolpharma targeting?

A: We are planning to introduce pain medications, which are relatively little used in Mexico because there are very few products available to treat intense pain, an ailment that greatly diminishes a patient’s quality of life. A common example is terminal cancer, which causes great suffering. These patients require very powerful analgesics, mostly opioids. However, prescriptions for these medications are low because doctors are reluctant to prescribe them. There also are few opioid providers in Mexico, which makes these medicines difficult to find. To address this, Grupo Neolpharma has developed an online pharmacy that can supply these medications. Access to opioids will be safe and controlled to prevent abuse and our company is closely working with authorities to promote their safe use. If their consumption is not controlled, they can be used in a recreational way. Even so, Mexico is far from the prescription opioid abuse that is affecting the US.

Q: How is Grupo Neolpharma addressing Mexico’s gaps in access to care?

A: We must offer services and products in line with Mexico’s epidemiological profile, which varies depending on the population’s age, gender and location of residence. Grupo Neolpharma’s role in addressing gaps in access to care is to increase the availability of high-quality products. We are now offering 275 molecules in 1,200 dosages. Within the next three years, we will increase our capabilities by 50 percent mainly in sterile products, which will address areas that are not currently being covered.

Universal access to care has been an important goal for Mexico but achieving it has been a challenge. The main problem is the fragmentation of the public healthcare system, which leads to duplication of services and gaps in access. It is necessary to unify these systems or to give patients the option to receive care at any institution.

Q: How is Grupo Neolpharma adapting its research lines and product offering to Mexico’s changing epidemiology?

A: Since the creation of Psicofarma, our first company, we have focused on chronic diseases at all ages, from diabetes to depression. Following this vision, our core expanded from psychiatry to cardiometabolic diseases and chronic disease-related pain. We are now analyzing an entry into other therapeutic areas as Mexico’s population is becoming increasingly older thanks to the successful fight against infectious diseases.

Q: Which new players can support the sector to increase access to care?

A: Pharmacies can play an important role in increasing access to care, since they now generate the equivalent of 70 percent of medical consultations performed by IMSS, especially in primary care. On many occasions, patients prefer to visit a pharmacy than go to IMSS, which means that IMSS is buying less medication for primary care patients. If patients pay their medication out of pocket, they do not take advantage of the contributions they make to IMSS through their taxes. It is necessary to study this phenomenon and adapt to it. Supply channels for medicines are changing and the sector needs to adapt to these changes.

Q: What is the scope of Grupo Neolpharma’s internationalization strategy?

A: Grupo Neolpharma has enough capacity to supply the entire country and we have the capabilities and quality to compete internationally. We now have a plant in Mexico that is only being used to 66 percent capacity.

During the past five years, Grupo Neolpharma has grown at a double-digit rate, which led us to build more manufacturing plants. Our new plant for injectables, which will have the capacity to manufacture 450 million units per year, will target both the national and the international markets. Grupo Neolpharma works to international standards and that will facilitate the exportation of our products.