Juan Francisco Hernández
Vice President Latin America
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Universally Accessible Insulin Treatments

Wed, 09/09/2015 - 15:35

Q: What role is Mexico playing in Wockhardt’s global strategy?

A: Wockhardt has a suitable portfolio for chronic diseases so Mexico was a logical step for us, since the country takes the lead worldwide in several chronic diseases such as diabetes and this is the first epidemiological problem in Mexico. Our local portfolio is exclusively focused on this and consists of insulin and oral antidiabetics. In June 2012 we established the Wockhardt Latin American headquarters in Mexico, and at this point all sales in Latin America are directed through Mexico.

Q: What was the company’s strategy to position itself in the market?

A: Wockhardt is in charge of its own representations and distribution as we do not currently have any lcoal joint ventures We produce mostly branded generics but we also have an R&D department which will launch three new antibiotics in the next two years. We are also an innovative company for biotechnology products and have our own plant to develop APIs for insulins, which helps us to maintain competitive costs. We also need to be prepared for the fact that diabetes will worsen for future generations and attempt to change the current culture with disease prevention strategies.

Q: As an Indian company, what barriers did you have to overcome to enter the Mexican market?

A: Indian and Chinese companies have a negative reputation in Latin America and we needed to convince authorities and doctors of the quality of our products. Currently, Mexican manufacturers use raw materials from China or India, since the local API manufacturing business has basically disappeared. Most companies focus on importation and commercialization of APIs and approximately 80 to 90% of the raw materials come from either of those countries. One of our main strategies is to have all plants certified to comply with the regulatory guidelines from the largest regulatory authorities around the world, including FDA, TGA, COFEPRIS, and MISA. We want to be seen as a reliable company, trusted by doctors, so we invest considerably in clinical trials. Wockhardt has its own CRO in India that performs our bioequivalence studies and more than 150 clinical trials a year.

Q: Who do you mainly sell to in Mexico?

A: We sell both to the government and to the private sector. In the private sector we sell mostly to pharmacy chains, working directly with them so that we can set the final price for each of our products. Today 60% of our sales go to the government but I would like to increase our sales to the private sector to 60%. One of Wockhardt’s goals is to make insulin treatments accessible to everyone and we have an international foundation that aims to make insulin accessible to low income diabetics worldwide.

Q: What key innovations are you bringing to market?

A: We have a R&D facility that produces innovative products and in Mexico we have introduced Wosulin Dispopen, a single use, affordable, insulin dispenser. This pen, which was developed and patented by our company, facilitates the delivery method and simplifies their treatment. Patient acceptance is very important in this market and we observed that patients followed their treatment using this product. Our goal is to introduce this pen to each Seguro Popular office in every state to present its advantages and its moderate price in comparison to vials. The problem is that to work in the public sector a medicine has to enter the National Formulary, which may take up to three years. We have been in this process of submitting this product for approval for about a year and it may take about one more year for it to be accepted.

Q: What are your most important short-term expansion plans?

A: We want to expand to include central nervous diseases such as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and oncology products. We have a solid portfolio of medicines for these diseases and therefore, we believe that we can fill this gap. Our brand is strong enough to provide many national and international companies with products with the same API but under different brands. In Mexico we produce insulin for two of our own brands and also for GlaxoSmithKline. These two products are targeted towards type I and II diabetes. This year my priority is to consolidate our diabetes portfolio in Mexico and to launch other antidiabetic products. We want to increase our profits in Mexico to US$20 million this year.