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EF: 2020 was the year of diagnostics, and 2021 vaccination. What do you think 2022 will be the year of?
JR: It is a year of normalization. Patients are getting back to physicians’ offices, especially patients that have rare diseases and that need speciality care. We experienced a lack of patient attendance to consultations last year due to the Pandemic. For those companies that are focusing on speciality care, we are seeing a recovery now. 2021 was not the year of speciality care. In the last two months, we have seen a recovery in the levels at which patients were being diagnosed. Things are getting back on track as they have been slowed down by the pandemic.
EF: What model would you use to bring back and increase patient care?
JR: First, we will continue to roll out vaccinations and advice patients on how they can improve and take care of themselves. Vaccination will be the norm; it will continue in the following years. The Pandemic will be something we need to learn to live with. Second, we will work with patient organizations, especially the ones focused on speciality care. Also, to communicate strongly on their conditions and how they can improve their health and care, and the importance of getting back to getting their consultations. We need to implement a lot of campaigns. to sensitize, train and teach patients about their conditions. As a Pharma company, we have strict boundaries to interact with patients, so we need to learn how to work within compliance while educating them on the importance of getting treated.
EF: How do you see the hybrid model evolving into the future?
JR: The hybrid model stands at 70/30 with speciality physicians like oncologists, and endocrinologists taking the better share doing remote consultations and having primary care physicians preferring face-to-face interactions.
We have introduced a totally remote KPI, tracking interactions that we have on training healthcare professionals through telemedicine platforms in remote areas. In rural areas, it is difficult to reach physicians face-to-face. Now we are taking advantage of the technological platforms to work with these rural areas in a remote way, ensuring access in these areas.
EF: What similar training initiatives have you rolled out in Colombia?
JR: It’s very difficult to access healthcare in Colombia since almost 50% of its population is in rural areas, and it is difficult for them to have healthcare. To counter this, we have established an alliance with the subsidized cost of tomography equipment with Siemens Healthineers in rural hospitals, funded by the government, in order for patients with stroke can get access to care. We have planned it in 12 municipalities, with Boehringer training all the physicians and medical personnel on how to use the equipment and detect Strokes. This has been spirited by the future of the business which is collaboration. This is an excellent example of collaboration between all the parties to increase access to healthcare, and allow patients to recover. The future of work is collaboration and alliances. We can win all together, this is boosting your business.
EF: How would you say about your portfolio performance?
JR: We have been the fastest-growing pharma company over the past three years and the leader in Colombia in terms of primary care for diabetes and respiratory diseases. Specialty Care represents a small part of our portfolio, but it has been growing lately as we shift our focus there.
EF: What's driving the growth of diabetes and respiratory therapeutic areas?
JR: A wonderful molecule called Jardiance is the driver for our growth. A product that has been approved by FDA and other authorities around the world, experienced excellent results in clinical trials to cater to diabetes and heart failure. On top of that, we have an outstanding team of people working together and synergizing in many areas thus creating a wonderful environment especially for priority areas of concern to the government; diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease.
EF: What advice would you give to the new administration on the role of healthcare in helping develop economic recovery?
JR: One of the greatest lessons we learnt is that we cannot work alone, and only collaboration is key, that's why we've partnered with the government to see to it that we have a healthy community, population, and economic recovery is guaranteed. The message is that we need to work together, invest together in clinical trials, invest in people, develop innovative projects together, and make the health system sustainable for the future.
The Colombian health market is one of the most advanced in the world, unknown to many, a practice we must make a tradition.