Mexico Health Review spoke with Sandra Sánchez-Oldenhage, Owner and CEO of PharmaAdvice on the unexplored opportunities in the Mexican pharmaceutical and biotechnological sectors.
Q: What are PharmAdvice’s main capabilities?
A: PharmAdvice assists companies that want to break into the Mexican health market or expand within it, whether as a new incumbent or aiming to unleash their growth track. The company offers a broad portfolio that includes helping clients identify and contextualize regulatory requirements and dynamics, understand the payer’s landscape with its impact on access, identify private market opportunities and lobby and establish contact with key government stakeholders, strategic and brand planning among others.
Q: What are the basic questions new entrants must answer before, during and after starting their operations in Mexico?
A: There are many areas to consider, but the basic questions I would focus on, fall under the following areas: regulatory, access, reimbursement and lobbying and commercial strategy. In the regulatory field, new entrants must be very clear in their understanding of patent law and local regulation, be it biotechnology, traditional pharmaceuticals, generics, biosimilars, medical devices, vaccines or others. In terms of access, reimbursement and lobbying, the company needs to clearly understand how the health care system works in Mexico and how to get into the different basic formularies. This alleviates difficulties that can arise from the extreme fragmentation present in the public sector. So, the company needs to find the most cost-effective business model that ensures patients’ access to its products in an affordable way for the payers. Finally, a customized commercial strategy is key to having a commercial advantage when coming to Mexico. After drugs or medical devices are approved, the company can participate in two markets: public and private, that are considerably different. Having a robust and flawless commercial business plan to take advantage of these two sectors is key to success.
Q: What are the unexplored opportunities in the Mexican pharmaceutical and biotechnological sectors?
A: Mexico is facing severe challenges in terms of demographic and epidemiological shift as the population ages and moves toward chronic-degenerative diseases.
Increased patient numbers with more comorbidities, a smaller number of taxpayers, extreme fragmentation of the payer system, limited public budgets and infrastructure leading to cost containment strategies and demographic bonus at risk of not being productive also impacts the system. All of this can lead to a negative impact on our country’s competitiveness. The current government’s three basic priorities for the healthcare sector are aimed at improving effective access to healthcare, quality of service and promoting prevention. Based on these fundamentals, opportunities arise within all these challenges and it requires the health sector to contribute in an efficient and opportune way to promote greater research and development of treatments that are focused on the most burdened chronic diseases that can turn into a solution for Mexican patients. Also, pharmaceutical incumbents must become active players and foster circumstances that favor the coexistence of innovators with generics and biosimilars, thus demonstrating the sensitivity and understanding of the cost-containment condition of payers.
Q: How can collaborations be generated among health sector agents to achieve these opportunities?
A: This means approaching business as a community-building effort, where growth comes from reaching beyond the familiar circles of influence to new players. As
an industry we must multiply our business relationships to keep reaching all patients who can benefit from the medicines available and the new ones to come; it is an endlessly expanding circle of need. The challenge is how we can get all these stakeholders, from academia to governments, payers, investigators and, ultimately, with the patient at the center of all decisions, organized in pursuit of the same goal.
PharmAdvice is a pharmaceutical, biotechnology and healthcare consulting services company that specializes in strategic and brand planning, regulatory affairs, commercial support and lobbying for the healthcare sector
Industry Analyst and Journalist at Mexico Business Publishing