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EF: What key goals do you have for your task force?
EC: To attend to all the demands made during the pandemic, we had all sorts of complications creating better logistics and planning. The first challenge we had was procuring and proceeding in a country with different realities across the board. No one region had the same kind of problem, and implementing it in such a situation was complicated. We had to manage the need to create emergency hospitals and approach it from a logistical point of view. The other issues were how to address the political problems between the federal authorities and state authorities. The management, coupled with the changing health ministers and the pandemic, made it a challenging and worrisome time because it all happened rapidly. In San Paulo, we were trying to produce a vaccine from Sinovac, China. At the same time, the minister of health asked and urged us to develop a vaccine. The other issues were logistics management, product stacking, and looking for solutions. We tried to take the correct positioning on presenting, staying in-house and preparing for a campaign vaccine. Inside Interfarma, we have a task force explicitly working with vaccines, and we have two critical pillars. The first one is on how we manage all the questions. The second pillar is with all the vaccines inside our national immunization plan. Our primary concern is delivering the vaccine and convincing the population to get the vaccine.
EF: When did you join Interfarma, and what attracted you to join?
EC: I joined in April this year. After more than 25 years working in different pharmaceutical companies like Pharma C, AstraZeneca, Novolog, and others, I learned that it is an arena with a good working pace. If the policies of Brazil are better managed, then the situation can become better. Working for one company is complicated because you are responsible for developing policies and generating numbers, unlike working in an association. If you can work for the sector in an association, you can help change the current situation. Here in Interfarma, we have been working with different authorities, and we represent the whole sector. We have convinced the government by pointing out the issues and changing the situation. If Latin America and Brazil leaders managed resources better, the reality could change.
EF: What was your given mission when you were appointed?
EC: Currently, I am responsible for access to all the therapeutic areas like vaccine, oncology, various diseases, chronic disease, PDPs, and strategic economic issues. I recently worked closely with executive authorities, presidents, ministers, and state authorities. We have been working to create a better environment with the leaders. And they, in turn, are trying to develop better policies for the health care arena.
EF: What is your definition of access?
EC: Access is the key success factor to providing a better quality of life for patients. It offers alternatives to a built course at the correct time. If you need to negotiate in haste, you will not succeed in your mission. If you provide access for just a few patients, it's impossible to achieve the goal correctly. We need to provide access precisely, with the correct setting for a correct basis.
EF: What is the role of innovation, the impact, and the economic spillover of Interfarma in Brazil.
EC: The issue we have been working on is creating new policies to give better inputs on the outcomes of all the programs with the authorities. We realize that we have several other problems in understanding one issue. Some of these issues are related to fake news, while others relate to the fear of going out during the pandemic. Sometimes we have structural problems, but sometimes, we have simple solutions to try and fix these situations. We need to face difficulties to apply solutions instead of pointing them out. I believe this is the role of Interfarma work to point out what is not working to the government and launch fully to recognize what we have and provide excellence. It is the responsibility of Interfarma to understand the correct situation, start the negotiations and discussions with the authorities, try to apply solutions, and be better.
EF: How much of a tactic year vs. strategic year has it been for Interfarma in general?
EC: I believe this was a very tactical year. We were trying to make part excursions and find solutions for all the issues we have been fighting. At the same time, we are trying to build better strategies because the work will not end this year. There will always be a continuation. We hope to create a better strategic plan to avoid the same problems. I believe it is one of the critical issues we have on hand. More than this, we have programs working to provide better attainment for all Brazilians in Brazil. At Interfarma, we have been trying to provide our experience and know-how to avoid problems in our vision. We are also trying to be more prepared.
EF: Is there any unique initiative or project you are specifically excited about that Interfarma has been doing?
EC: We have one specific program, called ‘Jeter farma,' a task force pharma in English managed for the minister of science and technology. Interfarma is working with all the associations and different associations from the other sectors to provide information and prepare for the future. We need better contracts to avoid the same problems we had this year. This year, the number of legislation changes has been fast because we live in a pandemic. But the result of it was brilliant according to our perspective. We were trying to answer any questions and help the health ministry provide solutions to many of these issues.
EF: 2020 will be remembered as the year of health. What would you like your 2020 to be remembered for?
EC: I believe 2020 was the year of the union. We saw a lot of reforms and different kinds of stakeholders working together to provide solutions for the pandemic to create better engagement, despite the various problems we had. In the 25 years, I have been in the industry, I have never seen this kind of effort of companies coming together to provide a solution for Covid. More than this, it was not just pharmaceutical companies; it was co-rental authorities, different countries, and authorities working together to be consistent with providing a solution. I believe this is the picture that will stay in my mind of 2020.