Mauricio Mendieta, Director General of Gedeon Richter, spoke to Mexico Health Review on the importance of sexual and reproductive health for Mexican women.
Q: What attracted Gedeon Richter to Latin America, and Mexico in particular?
A: Latin America represents 25 percent of the world market in the areas of reproduction and contraception and Brazil and Mexico account for 80 percent of the healthcare market for women in Latin America. To enter Latin America, we first decided to consolidate a vanguard portfolio in women’s healthcare. After consolidating our presence in Europe, Northern Africa and Asia came the expansion to Latin America and to achieve this, the company bought PregLem, a Swiss company focused on the commercialization and development of Selective Progesterone Receptor Modulators (SPRM) and Ulipristal Acetate (UPA). This helped us bring to market the company’s most important product at this time: Esmya, an ulipristal acetate for the treatment of uterine fibroids. Gedeon Richter also acquired Finox Holding, also a Swiss company, which has an infertility portfolio and that will lead us to the release of Bemfola in Mexico, a recombinant-human follicle stimulating hormone.
Q: What is Gedeon Richter’s main objective in Mexico and how will it achieve this goal?
A: We have two strategic objectives. The first is to consolidate our presence in the women’s healthcare portfolio. We will participate in therapeutic areas such as fertility control, menopause management and gynecological therapy, but also in new areas such as diagnostic devices and we will be the first pharma on detailing diagnostic genetics, starting with a Non-Interventional Pregnancy Test (NIPT), a strategic alliance with Roche. The second step is to consolidate a specialized-medicine business unit with a focus on biosimilars. Our goal is to become a profitable and sustainable company following international processes.
Q: What benefits can the Mexican healthcare system achieve through the use of your new therapies like Esmya?
A: With Esmya, we expect to decrease 40 percent of direct costs for the treatment of uterine fibroids in Mexico. We also will offer Criprazine, the first anti-psychotic approved by the FDA in the last 25 years, for the indication of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Finally, we will offer new alternatives for government institutions through our biosimilars portfolio.
Q: What do you believe is the main health issue for women in Mexico?
A: Sexual and reproductive health. We must help to open access to contraception, postpartum and post abortion contraception. Today, 50 percent of our teenagers embark on an active sexual life without contraceptive protection, despite the availability of information regarding contraception methods. There are 400,000 abortions per year in Mexico. We have to protect the reproductive future of our young women and teenagers. The challenge is to change this risk status with contraception access and ensuring access to contraceptive technology.
Q: How aware are Mexican women about the importance of their reproductive health?
A: Between 80 and 90 percent of young women are aware of contraceptive methods but approximately 50 percent of women do not use any form of contraception the first time they have sex. There is a dichotomy between the level of knowledge and real actions. It is our responsibility to conduct a direct campaign with patients to raise awareness among women, young and old, about the importance of safety in their sexual lives. We are not trying to replace the doctor’s role but to provide complementary information. In fact, all players must take responsibility to provide women with proper and balanced information.