Vicenzo D'Elia
Director General
Alfa Wassermann Mexico
View from the Top

Winning Mexico With an Eye on LATAM

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 16:07

Q: What were the market opportunities that led Alfa Wassermann to Mexico and what has been the development of this subsidiary?

A: Alfa Wassermann is an Italian company whose initial focus was Europe. When the company decided to expand operations to Latin America, assessing the most viable entry market for the region was crucial, factoring the country’s economy, availability of capable human labor, political stability, tax law, regulatory issues and extensive distribution channels. Under those circumstances and coupled with its growth potential, we realized Mexico was the most attractive market. Domestic medical needs were aligned to Alfa Wassermann’s product offerings and so Mexico became our Latin American point of origin.

During the last decade, the pharmaceutical industry has undergone major changes in areas like regulatory practices, market access, generic development, distribution channels and healthcare providers. This new environment has impacted the industry’s growth, leaving clear winners and losers. Alfa Wassermann has been quite successful in understanding this new scenario, implementing strategies that helped it fall on the winning side. For instance, from 2012 to date, the company has had an average market evolution of 125 percent.

Q: What are the main therapeutic areas Alfa Wasserman is targeting?

A: Alfa Wassermann focuses mainly on gastroenterology and peripheral vascular diseases. As of today, our biggest blockbuster is Flonorm© but we plan to broaden our gastroenterology portfolio with new products and innovations. The company invests 12 percent of its yearly revenue in R&D operations, keeping true to its DNA as an innovative enterprise. Gastro will continue to be Alfa Wassermann’s main therapeutic segment as becoming the world leader in gastroenterology is its biggest goal. We also can expect a future entry to cardio-metabolic and rheumatology-orthopedic segments. Mergers and company acquisitions will provide additional access to new products and therapeutic areas, directly helping us in this endeavor.

Q: What can you tell us about Alfa Wassermann’s online Campus?

A: Through our e-learning platform we can train our sales force in-house with an internally developed matrix. Alfa Wassermann understands the importance of continuous training and the Campus program ensures it. We will continue to use this means of teaching to evaluate our sales force’s performance and knowledge on a regular basis but the online Campus will never exclude face to face training. We have inserted content from clinical studies, helping our sales force understand medical conditions at a deeper level. In addition, we can keep track of our sales force’s development and performance, helping us produce a clear evaluation of each individual. Under these conditions, the impact of the Campus program has been quite fruitful. Even though this is a Mexico initiative, other global operations have developed a similar e-learning platform. We expect to soon integrate them into a single network and homogenously insert the solution to all operations.

Q: How does the Mexican tendency to focus on generic drugs affect Alfa Wassermann’s growth strategy and how will the company face this hurdle?

A: We do not compete directly with the generic segment because all of our products are still under patent. However, their growth has undoubtedly impacted our operations, eating away market share previously attributed to branded products. Alfa Wassermann plans years ahead of the potential arrival of a generic counterpart. As such, we coordinate new product innovations and releases with patent expirations.

We also develop programs targeting our patients’ needs, adding benefits to our products before the arrival of a given generic drug. To cover the growing competition, as well as future product launches, the company has systemically increased its headcount on a yearly basis. As a newcomer in the Mexican market, Alfa Wassermann is on the winning side of the industry. Still, we continue to work exhaustively to reach market share critical mass and brand recognition.