Alexis Serlin
Director General
View from the Top

Working Together to Improve Patient Health

Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:17

Q: Novartis has implemented a patient-centric focus. What impact has this had on access to healthcare?

A: This strategy has had a great impact. We are focusing more on improving our patients’ outcomes by helping institutions measure results and apply effective solutions, which gives us a competitive advantage. AMIIF and IMSS are also launching a project to prioritize a group of critical diseases in which they create rules so that the different companies offer shared-risk models that can provide access to innovations.

Q: Novartis has a 2015-2020 investment plan for Mexico. So far, how has it been allocated?

A: This plan was established in agreement with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Economy and it has five pillars to accomplish over five years. One is a US$50 million investment in clinical research in five years. Another pillar is the creation of a Novartis Center of Operations for Latin America here in Mexico to support all the companies from the group and their divisions. This project is a great opportunity for Mexico. Once completed, the team will grow by 1,000 associates.

Q: What are Novartis Pharma’s main therapeutic areas and how is the company targeting them?

A: We have six priority areas. The first is oncology, for which we recently submitted to COFEPRIS a product for monastic breast cancer that will produce disruptive results for the management of this disease. Second, is the cardiovascular and metabolic health segment. In 2016, we launched a product for cardiac failure that has shown a significant reduction in mortality and hospitalization due to this condition, which is the main cause for hospitalization in IMSS for adults over the age of 65. Next is immune dermatology and also in 2016 we launched products for psoriasis rheumatology, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. We also have an area for respiratory conditions focused on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, for which we have developed a product with a new action mechanism that has been recognized as new paradigm in the treatment of this disease. Our fifth priority area is neuroscience. We are focused on multiple sclerosis but we also have treatments for Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and Parkinson’s. Finally, we have a portfolio for problems related to both the back and front of the eye.

We always aim to match our portfolio to the main Mexican health concerns. Diabetes is among the diseases that IMSS is currently prioritizing and we have a product to manage diabetes that is supported by the largest study done among Mexican patients. We also develop solutions for diabetic macular edema and diabetic retinopathies and we have the market’s most integral portfolio for transplants.

Q: What is the strategic balance between providing the government with access to innovative medicine and developing generics?

A: Novartis is one of the top three global companies for innovative and generic medicine. In terms of generics, we believe we must respect patents, but once a patent expires we have quality generics that open new possibilities and reduce expenditure and that could be used by the system to create new innovations. It is very important that the population has access to all new products. However, the challenge in Mexico is that the investment in health is low: it is 6 percent, while the average government investment in health among OECD countries is 9 percent. Poor investment limits the capacity to acquire new technology but we recognize that we are at a moment in history where the development of drugs has advanced. Therefore, in an environment of budget constraints, we have a responsibility to help institutions gain access to these products. We do this by introducing pharma economic models. The role of the pharmaceutical industry should transform from being just a seller to becoming a partner of the health system.