BUILDING A SECURE FUTURE

Mexico 2019 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

Pfizer established the first pharmaceutical plant in Mexico. It has an equally vital role to play as the new government prioritizes universal healthcare and transparency.

Rodrigo Puga
BIOGRAPHY
Rodrigo Puga holds an MBA from Universidad de los Andes in Chile and a degree in Business Administration from Universidad Católica in Argentina. He was previously General Director of Pfizer in Peru, Bolivia, and Colombia. He was named General Director of Mexico in 2016.

What is your overall perception of the healthcare industry in Mexico?

I am positive about the healthcare industry's future prospects because it has been growing for the past few years. Looking ahead, the new government has mentioned two main priorities. One is to provide true healthcare access to all Mexicans. The second is transparency. As a global company, with high standards in terms of compliance and integrity, we are happy to see the new government prioritizing transparency. The government's agenda is a huge aspiration, and we want to communicate to them that we are here to help.

In what ways will Pfizer collaborate to increase access to health services?

The new government wants to generate more efficiency and transparency, and the industry has provided ideas and high-level points that could be good strategies to implement. The Secretary of Health has offered working groups to work together; it is imperative to start having those meetings in order to find a solution to achieve our common objective. It is also important that the changes to be implemented should respect the procurement law and all the FTAs with regards to tenders, sanitary regulation, and intellectual property.

How is Pfizer preparing itself to meet the future demographic needs of the country?

We have a large portfolio that tackles the burden of non-communicable illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases and central nervous system (CNS) diseases in Mexico. Moving forward, we will focus more on different types of diseases, oncology, new antibiotics, vaccines, and treatments for rare diseases. Pfizer is a large company working on many fronts to develop new cures and innovations. Our new CEO has publicly declared that Pfizer is ready to launch 25 new medical breakthroughs until 2025. I will do as much as possible to bring those products to Mexico in the coming years.
How many products are being launched in the short to medium term in Mexico?
We have been launching an average of three to five products per year over the past three years, and we'd like to keep that as our baseline in the future. It is difficult to say the exact number because it depends on the regulatory process and the approval of the product. We are currently launching new antibiotics. We are also aiming to launch biosimilars focused on inflammation and oncology. Three or four years from now, we also plan to launch new vaccines.

What strategies is the company using to compete with new companies?

Pfizer is entering a new era, because globally we will not face many patent expirations until 2027. This is partly why Pfizer is expecting a new growth period. Our new CEO is talking about how we can reframe our purpose and establish a purpose-driven agenda. We have always been a company that is focused on patients and their lives, but the new CEO wants to make this vision bigger. This is why we are changing the wording to “breakthroughs," which is not just about new medicine; it is science that truly changes patients' lives.

What will the USD8-million investment in the Toluca plant focus on?

We have been investing around USD8 million per year in our manufacturing plant to keep it up to date. It is something that we will continue to do. We are investing in new manufacturing lines, as well as new technology for our quality lab. Notably, Pfizer's was the first pharmaceutical plant in Mexico, demonstrating from the very beginning its commitment to the country. The plant is a great source of jobs (500 direct workers) and has an annual production of 44 million products and different certifications that has made it a socially responsible, inclusive, and modern complex for more than 60 years.