Read the Conversation

Opening remarks

CT: The healthcare industry became the largest and leading sector globally after the pandemic due to investments. On average, AMIIF generates $250 million annually, which can easily be tripled to $750 million annually. To achieve this type of economic transformation, our thinking must transform. We must become innovators and transformative thinkers rather than ideologists.  

The pharmaceutical industry has recognized the need for increased growth and investment. To facilitate this, the regulations governing clinical research need to be streamlined. If the regulatory authority could reduce the review period from 100 to 30 days, it could draw more companies interested in conducting research and gaining investments. Otherwise, multinationals may look elsewhere for FDA approval, leading to a decrease in assets.

We are fighting to implement sustainable policies to attract more investors to Mexico. All the current stakeholders need to be more open-minded. I am currently focusing on our companies’ and investors’ interests and how they can be innovatively met. Innovation within the pharmaceutical sector begins with clinical research. We need to offer a more appealing market to attract more investors and talent.  

Many sector leaders in Latin America advocate for public-private collaborations, yet these partnerships often fail. It's time, to be honest about our complicity in stifling collaboration. We blame the government for being inflexible and don't consider our rigidity. All parties must become more accommodating and open to discussion. Communication is key, and everyone has a part to play.

EF: If you were appointed as a CEO to head operations for a multinational in Mexico, how would you describe the market to us, and how would you thrive in the Mexican market?

CT: Working as a CEO in the LATAM market is a great experience and a career enhancer. The Mexican market is a highly competitive market with much margin for growth. Two integral aspects sustain the market; free-price and generic branding.

The free-price market system allows for greater profits for corporations and increases the number of customers, as the public sector can’t meet the supply. Brands are still preferred over generics. However, the wide selection of generic brands provides greater access for those who cannot afford the branded drugs. This is one of the primary benefits of having generic brands in the market.

The government is also one of the biggest consumers and providers in the market. 90% of innovative medicines must be bought through the government. This process has worked well in the past but has changed under new management. The new administration should have improved the process rather than changing it altogether. The recent changes caused purchasing and market delays. But it doesn’t change the fact that pharmaceutical companies are still receiving tenders and selling their products in volume.

The purchasing system will experience little change in the next two years. However, some modifications could be made to make the system better. The primary issue that needs to be resolved within the market is the regulatory authority COFEPRIS. Previously, we got clearance for new molecules after a year. With the new administration, delays in approval have occurred, which has caused a backlog. The newly appointed COFEPRIS leader has innovative ideas but needs more resources to implement them. The current COFEPRIS requires more personnel, funds, and know-how.

If COFEPRIS approves a product, it can automatically enter the private market. However, companies still need the approval of the government. They are trying to equalize the public and private sectors to the detriment of both sectors. Without the government’s approval, there can be no innovation and generics on the market. We are speaking to the relevant people to resolve this issue. As a sector, we need real improvements rather than promises. 11% of the country’s GDP goes through COFEPRIS. This makes COFEPRIS the doorway that will either bring investment or disinvestment.  

Mexico has a strong market presence, with its pros and cons. With many multinationals in the mix, it makes for a highly competitive market. Some companies can gain full market command while others have 0%. This can be seen as an advantage or a disadvantage, but it should be viewed from a more positive perspective. I advise you always to look at your competition and find out what they do better than you. Working together to maximize our potential should be the goal of all involved.  

Digitalization is quickly becoming the norm. Several businesses are searching for digital solutions to increase the efficiency of their systems and the country. Rather than go back to the outdated normal after the pandemic, we should embrace the new one. We must be creative and think beyond the traditional to develop lasting solutions.

March 27th will kick start the week of innovation. My requirement for this agenda is that it be innovative and cutting-edge. AMIIF brings many companies together, which is why innovation week must be fully creative and different from all the other conferences.  

The utilization of Artificial Intelligence will be front and center in our discourse. We need concrete and actionable AI rather than just something waiting in the future. Inexpensive AI-driven digital solutions can make a positive impact right now. We should combine our efforts to reach a unified objective, fashioning effective systems while cutting down on resources used. To access more resources, we must use the ones available more prudently and creatively. The government needs to change how they think about AI and how it can be used.

EF: How do you see the AI mindset progressing in Mexico? Is this a breakthrough year for AI?

CT: The country’s current leadership prefers the older approach over the new approach. The biggest issue with the older approach is stagnation. There is little to no room for change in a time when change is fast becoming the norm. The second issue is the bureaucratic decision-making process. We hope the new administration will be more future and change-oriented and create a shift for the current system. The AI and technology we bring on board must be up-to-date and cost-efficient. We search for relevant tech to the present, which may give our organization an advantage.  

There is still some resistance to digital solutions in hospitals and other healthcare companies. Our solution is to bring in other LATAM leaders who have successfully implemented digitalization into their systems and processes. We aim to show the benefits of incorporating AI and digital tools into different systems and processes. This is why it needs to be relevant to us now instead of on the horizon. It will take time to change people’s mindsets; however, it will continue to be part of our agenda.  

To free up resources, we should strive for efficiency and effectiveness. The more help we can generate, the more innovative medicines we can innovate. To attract more resources and investors, we need to become creative thinkers. Instead of discussions focusing on costs, we should talk about value.  

Any collaboration between the public and private sectors must be a win-win situation for all parties involved. With the current system, many are hesitant to have the conversation due to the potential constraints they may have to face. Most things on our agenda, like pushing digitalization, are common to Mexico. Other regions and nations have successfully tackled all the issues on our schedule. We do not have to reinvent the wheel; we must readjust it to our market. However, our top priority is COFEPRIS.  

EF: How are AMIIF and your members collaborating with the different stakeholders to contribute towards sustainability in healthcare?

CT: One of AMIIF’s pillars is creating sustainable systems. Every year we work closely with sustainability groups to research what is needed and what we can do to develop sustainable healthcare.  

When AMIIF first began five years ago, there were only a few leaders; now, we have fifty-eight. The ones who have been in the market the longest are more focused on the long haul, while newer people prioritize short-term goals. Because of this disparate outlook on our projects, finding common ground between the short- and long-term thinkers has been challenging to balance the projects and make them sustainable.

Partnering with other healthcare organizations allows us to explore more methods for creating a lasting system. We can't tackle this task alone, so it is essential that the industry bands together and forges alliances to develop a sustainable healthcare system.

If we want to develop Mexico, we must empower more women and promote equality in the workforce. Beyond this, we have long-term studies on different areas, like tackling NCDs from a woman’s perspective beyond reproduction. We are doing big research with the National Institution of Public Health, Georgia, to identify the data and policy recommendations for women. Including women in the overall system will generate more opportunities for them and improve and elevate the system.  

We have a handful of women in leadership positions, and I am urging them to approach the president of COFEPRIS to illustrate the need for faster processes from a female point of view. This could help him understand the market demand better and potentially improve COFEPRIS’s systems.  Seeing the issue from various angles could prove to be beneficial.

Soon, we should release a study on sustainability and other topics. Denny Oswald, the V4 head in Germany and a key player in G7020, is interested in investing more in health and wellbeing and producing better SG results. When March rolls around and he visits, I'm planning on introducing him to various companies for a broader view of sustainable development goals and achievable objectives. All of this relies on long-term investments in sustainability. We aim to build a sustainable development plan that involves and engages all the stakeholders within the sector from different perspectives. To achieve this, we must completely transform. We invited FIFARMA to be co-sponsors with us during the week of innovation.

EF: What key points will you include as part of your speech, and how do we keep the industry moving forward and Mexico relevant to attract investments from multinationals during the week of innovation?

CT: Since we have made major progress, we host a cocktail party at the beginning of every innovation week to include all stakeholders, including those in regulatory leadership positions. The purpose is to bring these people together and open the conversation. We hope to collaborate and find solutions to the problems facing the industry. The regulatory issue is important and always listed first on the agenda. We need to work on making it more efficient and effective. The laws must adapt as technology changes. The regulatory board can only cause delays and dissatisfaction without proper guidance for evaluating digital products.  

We should take note of other regions when looking for ways to improve; even the countries that are less advanced than us have more access than we do. Our goal is to make everyone aware of the flaws in our current system.

Creating a clinical research panel is another critical issue I want to address. Adding AI to the panel and the system will be a game changer. AI can accelerate many processes and create better access for stakeholders and patients. The first AI molecule from Insilico Medicine took only 18 months to develop, costing $2.5 million. This is a breakthrough in our industry. With AI, we can sell innovation at an accessible price in record time. I want to present AI as our point of difference. It is more time and cost-effective. AI is the solution to bringing access to all and patient-centricity.

The government recognizes AMIIF for its social programs. That recognition opens doors and allows us to sit at the table where we can present our recommendations. We will give our social programs, ethics, and compliance to show why AMIIF is a reference company.

EF: What would you like to be remembered for?

CT: My role in the group is to be the voice of determination and drive for progress. I'm fearless to be the only one who stands up against the crowd if it means creating progress. Even though I might come off as stern, I hope it isn't mistaken for lack of kindness. I want to be known for fighting for change and innovation.

My social circle is vast. I am a member of the board of the Direct Relief Mexico organization, one of the top five American aid-building entities. They are the number one partners with the Secretary of Foreign Relations and were instrumental in shipping over four and a half million vaccine doses to Mexico during the pandemic. I also have a seat on the Board of Infantile Work and Save the Children.  

As a sector, we must have a unified ethical standard and do our best to uphold it. Therefore, this is an obligation and a responsibility we must honor.

June 2023