TBY talks to two general managers on pharmaceutical market changes, the huge growth in demand and investments, and business expectations.
How has the pharmaceutical market evolved in Ecuador, and in which ways has your company contributed to its development?
ANA DOLORES ROMÁN The Ecuadorean pharmaceutical market is very diverse and has been growing over the last few years at a rate of 8%-10%. The overall business activity of the sector is worth $1.5 billion. The pharmaceutical industry is generating greater access for the population at the base of the pyramid through government and private sector initiatives. Pfizer’s main goal is to maintain growth at a double-digit pace, as we have succeeded in doing over the last few years. As an example, we have a patient support plan, in which we provide the market with innovative and high-quality products and a significant number of primary health products. I would also like to mention our contribution to the biological, oncological, and vaccination spheres of the market, where Pfizer has played the leading role. Our R&D activity has also been an important part of our contribution to the Ecuadorean market.
HÉCTOR ENRÍQUEZ Over the last four years, the government has shifted its focus to invest in health services and needs and has made important investments in the sector. Pharmaceutical products have played an important role, and we have had the opportunity to make higher sales and grow our share in the public business. Additionally, we look for other areas that may have potential, invest in those segments, and provide and supply the products that are needed in the country. We foresee the government continuing with this strategy. The percentage of people that are covered and are receiving health services in our country is very low compared to other South American countries. In order to enhance health care, we need to be prepared in terms of human capital, technology, equipment, and new products. These are going to be our needs in the future.
How significant is Ecuador to Pfizer’s global operations?
ADR Ecuador is part of Pfizer’s Latin American regional area of activity, and up until 2011 we shared regional coverage with Peru and Bolivia. Since January 2012, Pfizer’s regional operations have been divided; we are now reporting our activities to the head office in New York City. Today, Ecuador plays a significant role within Pfizer’s regional operations in terms of innovation and investment because we are a fairly small country that is able to develop projects in a wide variety of fields. In addition, we are taking advantage of the company’s global R&D activities to launch new products and lines in the Ecuadorean market such as biologics and vaccines. Pfizer is fully committed to Ecuador and its market needs, providing many people with access to safe, high-quality, and innovative pharmaceutical products.
What are LIFE’s strengths when competing with multinationals?
HE We are oriented to satisfy the needs of the local market. We have worked toward developing new formulations and products specifically tailored to solve issues pertaining to Ecuador and support the country, and our efforts have been very successful. We also consider the quality of our products and manufacturing facilities as a strategic capability. Furthermore, our products are more accessible cost-wise than the multinational variants, even as we maintain international standards of quality, safety and efficacy. The creativity of our team has been another strength. We have 350 employees, and around 130 of them have college and postgraduate education in a number of fields. Our group has been working with LIFE for many years.
What have been Pfizer’s key investments in Ecuador?
ADR Between 2006 and 2011, Pfizer invested more than $10 million in infrastructure, warehousing, and job creation, both directly and indirectly. At the moment, Pfizer Ecuador does not have a manufacturing plant, as we benefit from economies of scale at our other operations. Nevertheless, Ecuador has all the high standards required for the distribution and logistics network to achieve business success.
What is your growth expectation for 2012?
HE LIFE has been investing in facilities, technology, and equipment. We will continue to be focused on the development of our people and new products. This is our strategy to remain competitive. Over the last three years, we have been revamping and remodeling some areas, as well as buying more equipment because we are committed for the long term. The percentage of people that demand good health services is still large. We hope that, as in the last 72 years, LIFE will continue to be the biggest Ecuadorean pharmaceutical company, and increase its market share.
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