FINDING THE INNER CHI

Ecuador 2019 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

Historically, Ecuador's pharmaceutical industry has been heavily dependent on imports and foreign players, but companies like LIFE are changing that by tapping into local talent and resources.

Héctor Enríquez C.
BIOGRAPHY
Héctor Enríquez C. has been with Laboratorios LIFE for more than 42 years and has been instrumental in the company’s expansion and diversification. He has fostered close relations with key industry leaders, opinion influencers, distributors, and both private- and public-sector accounts. He studied chemical engineering at the National Polytechnic University, Quito.

Can you tell us more about your market position in the recent years?

LIFE has been ranked amongst the 10 most important pharmaceutical manufacturers in the market. This is a business that is continuously evolving; there are always strict regulations, and the requirements of customers, patients, doctors, and the government continue to evolve and become stricter. Our growth in the last few years has helped us maintain our market share against the competition. We seek to expand our market beyond Ecuador and continue to find products that are beneficial for our specific market.

How much do you invest in innovation and R&D, and what are the main areas of research?

Most of the products that we are currently selling were developed within our company. Our research formulation group is comprised of nine-10 people with master's and PhD degrees who are responsible for finding new formulations. These formulations require that we find and import the proper active ingredients, excipients, and materials to manufacture the final products.

How do you adjust your research depending on the demographics of the country?

Ecuador's population is changing. The percentage of people over the age of 55 is growing and will continue to grow for the next 15 years, so the type of products that we need right now is different. We had identified this trend a few years ago and began developing formulations related to chronic diseases to tap into our market's demographic changes.

How do you envision further regionalization?

The most natural markets to expand to are Colombia and Peru. We have also been working on entering certain countries in Central America. Our main market is Ecuador, and we are working hard to maintain and further grow our market share here. The strategies that we use for the local market could also work in other countries in the region since we share some similarities. Our aim is to grow our export business in comparison to the local one. For this purpose we must not only have the right product that complies with local regulation for the product's registration but also the local marketing platform to successfully launch a product in that country. The pharmaceutical business environment is changing drastically all over the world, and we need to adapt ourselves internally to remain competitive. For instance, we are faced with a social insurance system that will be upgraded and extended, and these changes are in the interest of all stakeholders, including the government, pharmaceutical companies, and the general population. As key players in the industry, we must be committed in reviewing and establishing goals to continuously develop the market.