miércoles, 28 de enero de 2015

Argentina: El futuro del Mcdo. farmacéutico / Juan Pablo Bagó


In the next six to ten years, the environment of the Argentinian pharmaceutical industry, isolating all the macroeconomic issues, will very closely follow the pharma evolution happening today in developed countries. What we expect to see is a decrease in the importance of the massive prescription market, mainly due to the fact that the source of new innovative products is drying up in big traditional markets. New products aren’t coming up except in particular areas like neurology, some products for Alzheimer’s and diabetes. What we are seeing today is that in many important categories like hypertension or pain, no innovation will come. In a way, there is very little push to add value. It is quite simple and logical: when companies cannot innovate more, the competitive variable becomes price. 

The growth of the industry will therefore come from other market segments. One of them is the OTC segment. Compared to other Latin American markets, Argentina has a very small share of OTC products. This will increase on an annual basis. The current market situation is not due to regulation, only that very few companies are currently focused on the OTC market. Laboratorios Bagó already has an OTC line, and today we are investing more than ever in this type of products. Considering the price situation in Argentina today, investing in OTC products may not look like the best strategy but again, crises in Argentina are always transitory and in the near future OTC will be definitely one of our leading lines in the Argentinian pharma market. 

The second and most important growth area will be speciality products: products aimed a targeting unmet medical needs substantially suffered by small populations. This is the market segment that has been growing the most and it will keep on growing in the future, driven by innovation. Obviously, this will pose a challenge to the payers as these are expensive products. Laboratorios Bagó, thanks to its strong financial skill, has been able to be focus on speciality products during the last six to seven years. Our group considers this segment as a crucial avenue of growth.
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It has happened in the past, and will probably happen in the near future, that some pharma giant knocks our door, which is not a bad sign as it means we are doing things well. At some point, our stakeholders might like to sell, so we will always have the doors open to listen. Having said that, I personally think that our group of companies will increase in value in the future. Although growth is flat in our home market, we are investing heavily elsewhere in Latin America in order to be able to grow further. 

Obviously there will be some local companies that will be acquired by multinationals in the years to come, given that there are many local players in the Argentinean market, but in the immediate future, I do not think that the market will change too much in terms of ownership.
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