TBY talks to Alfredo Rimoch, Director General of Liomont, on better utilizing capacities, releasing new products, and medical tourism.
TBY Liomont has entered several new markets since 1997. What strategy has guided your expansion?
ALFREDO RIMOCH We are constantly contacting local distributors to represent us in different international markets, and we have a strong partner in Venezuela, our base in South America. This arm of the company does marketing, distribution, and retailing through its local sales force. That has been the strategy; finding good local partners in every one of these countries, including Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru.
Your plant currently has the capacity to produce 120 million medical units per year. Are you planning to increase your production in 2012?
At present, we have the capacity to manufacture 120 million units; however, we are currently manufacturing approximately 65 million units. This means that we have the capacity to expand and ramp up production. We are expanding a number of our production lines, especially in the steroid facility at Cuajimalpa. However, we are working on a master plan for a new site outside of Mexico City, and we’re working with a Spanish company to develop and design the plant. It will include facilities dedicated to the areas of hormones, antibiotics, high-potency products, and biotechnology. At the moment we have enough capacity to keep growing, and we’d like to push our capacity to the limit.
How have your export operations expanded over the last year?
In 2011 we saw growth in our exports of around 20%. Exports are growing at a faster pace than domestic sales, which grew at around 2% in 2011. We are currently entering Chile, and we’re in the process of filing products with a partner in the US, and we are also entering Europe through a partner in Spain called Esteve. Growth in Mexico has been extraordinary in the past 20 years, but it has slowed down recently, particularly since 2009, when there was an economic crisis worldwide.
How would you assess your penetration rate in the Mexican pharmaceutical market?
We have very strong penetration in terms of prescriptions. For 20 years we’ve focused on detailing our generic branded products and innovative licenses. We’ve been visiting doctors with our sales force, which totals around 1,000 representatives throughout the country. Our strategy has been mainly focused on manufacturing branded generics. We have focused on introducing the medical community to Liomont, a company that is outstanding in quality and trust. By following this strategy, we’re now the seventh most prescribed company in Mexico. Furthermore, we rank ninth in volume and 18th in value, which means that our products are more affordable.
What are your strongest products in the Mexican market?
Our best-selling product is the strong analgesic Supradol. Redustat, which is a weight-loss product, has also experienced an incredible growth in sales. We have strong sales with Inhibitron, which is for ulcers and stomach acidity. Cicloferon is also a very strong product, which is used for cold sores and herpes. We are also launching new products like Thoreva (anti-cholesterol), Degregan (anti-platelet), Go, and Everest (anti-asthmatic), which are expected to be well received in the market. Overall, we have around 60 brand names and over 200 products.
What is your assessment of the quality of R&D in Mexico?
This is a huge area to be developed. Although there is outstanding talent, Mexico is behind other countries in terms of R&D. We need to use R&D infrastructure to produce goods that can be commercialized and marketed. One problem exists in that researchers gain incentives when they publish their findings, and thus it becomes part of the public domain and cannot be patented. This creates barriers between the industry and researchers. However, I believe there is huge potential for Mexico to become an important center for clinical research. Due to the structure of national health institutions, there is a huge opportunity to carry out clinical tests, trials, and research.
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