Mexico Health Review interviewed Anne Engerant, Senior Vice President LATAM of RB Health on how the company is creating an awareness campaign for Sico to educate young people to protect themselves during sex and avoid STIs, and unwanted pregnancies.
Q: How did the acquisition of Mead Johnson Nutrition change RB®’s operations?
A: The acquisition of Mead Johnson Nutrition led to a transformation within RB® worldwide. RB® has its roots and a long history in the production of home hygiene products, but it has refocused itself in the area of health with several acquisitions, including Sico and the OTC brands from Bristol Myers Squibb in Mexico. The acquisition of Mead Johnson Nutrition allowed us to further place a priority on health.
Q: Considering the wide variety of products you manage, what are your priorities for Mexico?
A: Mexico is an important country for us because it represents big growth opportunities in our core categories. One of our main priorities is our infant formula business due to its size, followed by Sico and OTC products. Actually, the portfolio may look diversified but there are a lot of synergies: RB® offers patients a wide range of products to
improve their health and wellbeing. For instance, if a woman wants to avoid having children, she can use Sico condoms to protect her from unwanted pregnancy. If she decides to be a mother and for certain reasons, she is not able or chooses not to breastfeed, we offer a wide range of infant formula depending on the needs of the baby and can help her manage her baby’s fever with Tempra.
Enfamil, our infant formula, currently holds 23 percent of the market in Mexico with a wide variety of products to address different needs. But our competition in the country is not only with other brands of infant formula and powdered milk, but we also share the market with nonspecialized milk, such as pure cow’s milk and sometimes even with coffee or soft drinks.
Q: How is RB® incorporating innovation into its infant formulas?
A: It is not easy to innovate in this category, as any innovation requires years of deep research and development by our team of nutritionists, scientists and often several clinical trials to prove our good nutritional levels. Our source of inspiration is breast milk, which we recognize is the best for the baby. We recently launched an exclusive formula that contains milk fat globule membrane (MFGM), which helps the development of the nervous and immune systems.
Q: What is RB®’s strategy to strengthen its OTC division and compete with generics?
A: The best way to compete against generics is to invest in innovation and introduce new molecules and solutions.
For instance, in 2017 we introduced Graneodin F into the Mexican market. These pills for sore throats contain flurbiprofen, a unique derivate from ibuprofen with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, the concentration for which had not previously been commercialized in the Mexican market. This product won the COFEPRIS’ Innovative Solution Award.
We can also grow the market for OTC brands by encouraging self-care. For instance, we believe we have a role to play by helping the medical community explain to patients when it is better for them to avoid antibiotics. Many individuals are convinced they need antibiotics to deal with a common sore throat when more than 80 percent of these ailments are viral in origin and thus do not require antibiotics. Instead, it would be much better for the patient to take a medicine that treats the symptoms of a sore throat.
Q: Which areas of public health is RB® addressing?
A: Beyond the issue of antibiotic misuse on which we work at a global level, in Mexico, we are creating an awareness campaign for Sico in which we educate young people on the proper use of condoms to protect themselves during sex and to avoid STIs and unwanted pregnancies. Teenage pregnancy (often among girls as young as 10 years old) is a growing problem in the country. We want to make condoms more accessible and help young people acquire them without shame.
Industry Analyst and Journalist at Mexico Business Publishing