MARCO RUGGIERO

Mexico 2021 | HEALTH | INTERVIEW

Chiesi has ambitious plans to bring its innovative respiratory products to Mexico in 2021 to change the course of asthma and COPD treatments.

Marco Ruggiero
BIOGRAPHY

Marco Ruggiero obtained his university degree in economics and business administration from the University of Parma and specialized in international marketing. He received an MBA at SDA Bocconi in 2012. His career started in 2001, when he joined Nestlé Group. In 2008, he joined Chiesi Group in Parma as corporate controller of northern European affiliates. In 2012, he was appointed as head of planning and control at international markets development division at Chiesi Group. At the end of 2017, he moved to Mexico, where he currently holds the position of General Manager of Chiesi Mexico.

What did you achieve in 2020?

2020 was by no means a normal year; however, our results were good due to both the private and public sectors, each with their distinct dynamics. The private sector remains appealing for Mexico because of its free prices that can be adapted according to market developments. With respect to governmental business, the industry suffered in terms of both time and difficulties to adapt to changes that took place in a short span of time. Companies had to adapt in order to present their own products. However, positive results were achieved until the end of 2020. There are many areas we need to improve on, especially regarding the tender process, bureaucracy, and the collection process.

What factors were responsible for the success of the sector?

The size of SMEs provides flexibility to act quickly and adapt to the new normal. This small and flexible factor is indispensable for all companies that want to adapt to change. It is also necessary to renew the organization because there are roles that no longer exist, and we must adapt to this new reality. Finally, we have to implement a great deal of technology, which is one of the challenges 2020 has brought us.

Chiesi has products specialized in the respiratory field. Has this proven to be an advantage?

Although they are not COVID-19-related products, we have indirectly estimated a benefit, especially in the post-COVID area, as an after-care treatment of the disease.

As the person in charge of launching Chiesi, what challenges did you face in the Mexican market?

In comparison to the European market, where I had the opportunity to work, there are substantial differences. The major difference in the private market is that there is no reimbursement for the product that patients buy from the pharmacy, which is fairly common in Europe. This means there are dynamics between prices and demands that are typical of the 100% autonomous market. We must find a way to streamline the patient in the purchasing process via a collaboration with pharmacy chains to offer the product conveniently, streamlining the use of the product correctly. We have to work hard to achieve this, and via collaboration we can see its maximum expression. This does not happen in Europe because the product is reimbursed by the national health system. On the government side, one factor is the savings that every government in the world seeks for its country. However, what still can be improved on is the desperation to save on the purchase of a drug, as older products are purchased for this purpose, and the more innovative ones do not reach patients. This does not reach public sector patients either. Mexico has to understand what the total cost of treatment is. The most innovative drugs may cost more to purchase, but bring about savings in treatment costs in the long term. This is particularly true for highly specialized products.

What are your goals for 2021?

We have an ambitious goal for this year, which is to reach the government with our entire respiratory line. 2021 will be the first year in which Chiesi Mexico will enter and launch its first respiratory line. We bring innovative products manufactured in Italy that will likely change the course of asthma and COPD treatments. On the specific side, we are launching the first triple extra-fine fixed combination for the treatment of COPD. This will be our main focus, and we are convinced it will be a success. Unfortunately, the entire company is working remotely due to the situation, but we are counting on being able to travel as soon as possible. Therefore, the launch of this respiratory line will be carried out via a large virtual event that will involve a number of physicians.