Kazakhstan 2017 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | B2B

Kazakhstan is putting a greater emphasis on a healthy population, giving pharmaceutical companies an ideal market.

Catalin Radu
Managing Director
Bayer Kazakhstan
Ranga Welaratne
General Manager
Sanofi Kazakhstan

What are the highlights of your company in Kazakhstan?

Catalin Radu Our company has been committed to the Kazakhstani market since 1994, and we have the same commitment today. We transitioned from a small operation to a fully fledged legal entity that includes all our pharmaceuticals, consumer health, and life sciences. Our business has developed consistently over the years and today we are number five in pharmaceuticals in Kazakhstan in terms of prescription and non-prescription drugs. Bayer Healthcare has developed throughout the year via both organic growth and acquisitions. The largest acquisition in pharmaceuticals was Schering, back in 2006, later notable acquisitions include Sagmel and the OTC portfolio from MSD. All those acquisitions also contributed to our dynamic role in Kazakhstan.

Ranga Welaratne Sanofi is a life-science company present in more than 100 countries. Sanofi is a major player in emerging markets including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia. We have around 350 employees in our team in Central Asia. As a pharmaceutical company, our mission is to bring innovation to our patients across the globe. Today, we have a diversified portfolio widely used among the general population of Kazakhstan that allows us to provide them with innovative solutions. In recent years, most children born in Kazakhstan are vaccinated with high quality combination vaccines manufactured by Sanofi, because we are one of the main suppliers of vaccines in the country. In 2017 we will celebrate our 20th anniversary in the region. In the last 20 years, we have been introducing many new innovative products to the country and provided patients in Kazakhstan with access to important medicines.

What are the particular features of the Kazakhstan market compared to other countries?

CR Kazakhstan is not completely different from many other territories. Diabetes is a big topic here, similar to many other countries, and it is one of the national priorities. Cardiovascular diseases are another important area of concern, with heart attacks and strokes causing major fatalities. Vaccinations are a high priority on the public health agenda. Public funding is significant here as well. Kazakhstan has a growing population. Overall, the opportunities are great and we expect the healthcare market to diversify and develop. Personally, I expect to see more private service providers, healthcare providers, private clinics, and private hospitals; this is a natural trend because it can both lift the burden of public spending a little and also adapt the market better to what society needs.

RW In emerging countries, there is a high unmet need for high-quality innovative products. The government tries to spend more money in the development of healthcare systems. The one thing common across former USSR countries is hospital treatment versus primary care. In developed countries, 80% of the time patients go to a GP, get the prescriptions, and go home; that is primary care. Here, it is completely the opposite as perhaps 50-60% of cases are hospital care. It creates great pressure on the government. Primary care should be developed as opposed to hospital care. Institutions need to be robust, policies need to be set up properly, and funding needs to be handled in a befitting way. With the “Densaulyk 2020" program, we are getting there.

What is your outlook for 2017?

CR For 2017, we remain optimistic and committed to Kazakhstan. We expect to reach our targets, which are ambitious. We will be able to show growth in our business, and this is valid for all divisions here, all the while keeping a healthy financial position and good debt collection rate. This also shows our confidence that the economy is stable and that the reforms taken by the government will show results.

RW In 2016, we did a strategy exercise called the Central Asia Roadmap 2020 wherein I proposed that the total business in Central Asia will be doubled by 2020. We have looked at macroeconomic data and pharmaceutical data, pharmaceutical reform data, and external indicators. In 2017 I will focus on five areas: vaccines, CHC, diabetes, cardiovascular, and rare diseases. We will still work in our eight countries but we will be focusing on Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Georgia, and Azerbaijan. Contextually, the region will recover and there will be some pharmaceutical reforms. We can move the needle in Kazakhstan by focusing on bringing innovation to Kazakhstani patients in need.