Read the Conversation
EF: When you were appointed a year and a half ago, what was the mission you set for yourself?
CA: Although the company was prepared to navigate the pandemic, operating it was challenging but we persevered and continued running it daily. We continued providing quality services and products for all our customers and stakeholders, which was our top priority.
The pharmaceutical industry played an essential role in controlling the pandemic. Vaccines helped us overcome the pandemic, and the sector supported patients impacted by Covid-19. The sector also attended to the industry's and healthcare professionals' needs.
As a company, we had to become more innovative and develop solutions in our customer approach. Digitalization helped us increase our footprint and strengthen our relationships with consumers. Transitioning from face-to-face to virtual meetings was something we anticipated and started working from before. Now, our communication with our consumers has improved through various products, platforms, and services.
Glenmark was one of the first companies to have a product to treat Covid-19. The product had a positive impact in different markets across the globe, and it was launched in 2020 as the pandemic began.
The major challenges we faced were importing APIs and finished products. So, we channelled many resources towards producing and supplying these products to all consumers globally. We specialize in APIs, production, and innovation, with integration to shorten the launch time of all the products and services in the pipeline. We also specialize in respiratory conditions. Our product portfolio covers Asthma and other respiratory products. In the past year, we created the first generic of a great medicine against asthma, bronchitis, and COPD. The product greatly increased patient access to the market. In the process, we also improved the needs of patients by creating a competitive price and improving the quality of our products.
EF: What lessons did you learn in the last two years?
CA: It was an interesting time for me because I had to reopen the office and its operations after it had shut down during lockdown. When I arrived, the office was chaotic, with so much clutter. My mission was to transform the Brazilian company. My director and I worked together to make the company operational again. The plans we made during those first few weeks have worked tremendously well. The teams we set in place had goals that they superseded.
The world has been slowly returning to the old normal for the last year. The new normal was something we learned during the pandemic. We must find the right balance between the new and old normal.
Team engagement is crucial to the operation of a company. It is something we exceeded during the pandemic. However, no matter how good it is, it can never replace good old-fashioned face-to-face interaction and involvement. Therefore, the biggest lesson we learned was finding the right balance between virtual and physical engagement. Achieving the balance between virtual and face-to-face meetings and complimenting them will maximize the effect.
EF: Can you elaborate on your product portfolio in Brazil?
CA: Our portfolio in Brazil is not as comprehensive as our LATAM portfolio. Brazil's product portfolio focuses on respiratory, oncology, and dermatology. It holds up to 50 other brands and products within these three areas. The current and future pipeline is backed with products for respiratory and oncology conditions. We cannot wait to launch several exciting products. We want to deliver high-quality respiratory and oncology products to the country.
EF: How did your leadership style change, and how did you keep your team engaged?
CA: To keep the engagement up, I kept communicating with the entire team. When I entered the company, I set up several daily, weekly and monthly routines. We fully took advantage of the hybrid work model and had rituals that guided us through the challenging times. Before the pandemic, we had a joint business plan with all our key customers, and we used to track it every business quarter. During the pandemic, we kept the tracking running for every customer, despite Covid-19. Today some of our consumers prefer meeting virtually rather than physically. Tracking and team engagement become easier with the right channel, people, and strategy.
The training tools developed during the pandemic enhanced product and behaviour training. Each company can select the type of working model and tools they want to engage in for the company. The pandemic expanded the digital market and increased opportunities for many people. The opportunities to transform and grow digitally are incredible. It was one of the positives of Covid.
EF: What do you think about healthcare's role in developing economic recovery?
CA: The healthcare sector played a key role during the pandemic. Future trends were anticipated during the pandemic. These trends include patient care, health awareness, and telehealth. It is challenging for developing countries to offer these solutions because of bigger populations. In Brazil, there are 150 million people dependent on public healthcare, and only 50 million are on healthcare plans or private insurance. In this case, we need to develop a flexible and approachable solution that encompasses every income bracket and provides a healthcare plan for everyone.
Last week we had a pharma meeting in Sao Paulo where several big pharma companies were presenting. One of the companies brought forward an access and consultation solution. Essentially a patient will consult a doctor through telemedicine and get a diagnosis and a prescription at a low cost. If this solution can be applied to developing countries across the globe or countries with large populations, healthcare will be accessible on a global scale. 80% of the medical treatment payments are out of pocket and not reimbursed in Brazil. As a healthcare segment, we need to expand the coverage for the rest of the people that cover healthcare out of pocket. It is interesting how digital products, tools, and innovation is lowering costs.
EF: Can you elaborate on the digital technologies developed to better connect with practitioners?
CA: Many representatives could not connect with doctors at the pandemic's beginning. Therefore, these platforms were built to communicate with doctors and consumers. We used a platform that educated us on our products and connected us to doctors. It was developed in three months and ran for about a year and a half before it stopped. The platform allowed doctors to interact with the product details and get their insights. Agility is important. Companies that act fast make a difference. Other countries use similar platforms to this end. This type of technology is more common than it used to be. As a result, there is more access.
EF: Do you think the future of healthcare would change in Brazil with the future administration? What do you think they should focus on?
CA: I do not think there will be a lot of change. The healthcare system in Sao Paulo is different from the rest of the country because the governor prioritizes health more. The competing administration uses a similar management style to the current one regarding healthcare. Individual states are more focused and innovative in managing and developing solutions for the healthcare industry.
We need to work together to fasten the process and innovation because of the backlog created during covid. I hope the future administration will hasten the approval of products so that more products can be launched and available.
EF: Two years from now you will celebrate 25 years in Brazil. What would your speech look like?
CA: My dream for Glenmark Brazil is for it to be a $100 million company within the next ten years. We want to increase Brazilian people's access to respiratory and oncology products. My team and I are working steadfastly to deliver to increase access to all people. It is about being patient-centric.
To reach $100 million, we need to work quickly to make it a reality instead of a pipe dream. If we put together the right mix of products, execution, and supply, we can bring several solutions to Brazilian patients.