Marlene Llópiz
President
Association of Medical Specialists in the Pharmaceutical Industry
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View from the Top

Taking Mexico Into The 21st Century

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 09:54

Q: What is the new vision for this association in the 21st century and what do you want to achieve with it?

A: This is an association that has been around for 50 years and is considering modifying its name to make it more inclusive to other professionals in the pharmaceutical industry. There are not only medical specialists in the pharmaceutical field but chemists, biologists, lawyers, nutritionists and many others. The second thing I want to do is to modernize the statutes, which are somewhat outdated. The association has four commissions with two people in each and it states that they must be physicians. I want to open it to three members per commission and have two of them be non-medical. There is great diversity and talent in the pharmaceutical field that is not being brought into the association because of these outdated statutes.

We also want to expand internationally, especially into Latin America to create collaborative agreements with other associations to share information. We are preparing large meetings for Mexico City. The first, in September this year, is a national meeting that serves as a platform for COFEPRIS to discuss diverse hot topics. Next year, we will have an international meeting where we will be inviting people from North, Central and South America, as well as Europe and speakers from diverse fields of pharmaceutical medicine. They will be instrumental in letting us know how their regulations are changing and new aspects on pharmaceutical medicine. The pharmaceutical field has changed drastically over the past few years and I foresee that generics, biotechnological products, and oncological products will be the most important topics for the near future.

Q: What are the trends in Mexican clinical research?

A: Mexico is an outstanding place to conduct clinical trials because there are extremely qualified researchers with specific know-how, experience and state-of- the-art infrastructure and facilities. In the past each pharmaceutical company conducted their clinical research in-house whereas now the trend is to outsource this service. In-house or outsourced, there will be a huge boom in clinical research here in Mexico.

Q: Given the influx of resources into the country, what are the priorities for the association in terms of helping the industry grow

A: A priority is to help orient new companies when they come into Mexico. We must be sure of what we are bringing into the country. We are always searching for quality, efficient and safe drugs for our population. We also believe in providing a strong platform for continuing education in the pharmaceutical sector.

Q: Despite regulatory systems becoming friendlier, what are the obstacles to improvement?

A: One of the main problems is dealing with government agencies because of the bureaucratic processes. The simpler the government can make it without compromising restrictions, the easier it would be for our industry to move forward and make drugs available to the population. COFEPRIS has done an outstanding job in listening to the pharmaceutical industry, collaborating closely and providing new platforms for moving drugs to the market in a shorter time span.

Q: How do the actions of pharmaceutical companies match up with the actual state of public health in Mexico?

A: It matches up entirely because the generic and biotech drugs are directed toward the aging and those chronic diseases most prevalent in Mexico, like diabetes. But it is important to remember that problems like obesity go beyond the pharmaceutical and public health reach. They require educational and social change as well.

Q: In terms of trends and new drug development, are we looking more at treatment drugs or drugs that cure the disease?

A: I think the trend is more toward treating diseases because there is still a lot to be done to cure the main diseases. Sciencesuchasgeneticsbehindcancerorvaccinations against HIV are moving forward, but not as fast as we would like them to. The ideal scenario would be to find a cure but I do not think we are there yet. We are focusing on improving quality of life by treating those that are already ill, aging or suffering from chronic degenerative diseases.