What growth has Laboratorios LIFE experienced over 2013?
Last year was an important one because, in addition to the private sector, we have become a key Ecuadorean supplier of products to the public market. Over the past seven years, the government has invested in improving national health conditions. That means that more pharmaceutical products are needed for patients, and the volume has significantly increased accordingly. We thoroughly understand the government's requirements and, accordingly, know precisely what investment and technology is required to meet those needs. Close to 27% of our business is in the public sector.
How do your strategies differ when approaching the private and public sectors?
They are completely different strategies. In the private market we have the products, we know the doctors and hospitals, and we understand the requirements of specific therapeutic areas and develop our strategies accordingly to supply that market. In the public sector, what is important is to cover the basic needs of the majority of the population through the National Basic Product List, needs that differ entirely from those of the private sector. The most important customers in the public sector are the Ecuadorian Social Insurance System, the Ministry of Health, the Armed Forces, and so on.
What notable investments have you committed to?
This year, for example, we have invested close to $10 million, and are set to have completed several projects by the end of September 2014. The three most important projects, which make up the majority of that amount, include one new complete line of injectable lyophilized products. The area where we manufacture injectable products has been completely redesigned and rebuilt. We are also expanding the manufacturing capacity of large volume parenteral. Those are the main investments on the technical side. Another important investment is new Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP). This new system performs the planning and management of the entire company. In addition to that, we are going to implement a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Business Intelligence System, so we will not only be upgrading our internal capacity to manage the business, but also boosting all other systems to better understand the market and its requirements. This will also help us to analyze what strategies we need to implement to remain competitive and increase our market share.
What are your main goals for the next couple of years?
We are interested in certain therapeutic areas. Ecuador has an increasing need for specialized products in the cardiology, biotechnology, and oncology areas. We develop formulations of our products here in Ecuador. That means we need not only information of what the active principles are that we need for a product, but also on what the right formulation is in order to make it equivalent to original foreign products.