Read the Conversation

EF: What innovation or research opportunities can be developed in Brazil's pharmaceutical sector?

RS: Several pharmaceutical companies, including Ferring, recently gathered in Brasilia for a meeting organized by Interfarma. During the meeting, participants focused on several critical topics, including patent and data privacy, which are essential when submitting a product, and clinical research, which is significant in the pharmaceutical market. Brazil secures a spot among the top 20 countries in clinical research investment, while its standing in the pharmaceutical market has already landed it among the top ten countries in sales. As a result, the participants discussed the opportunity for Brazil to participate more in clinical trials, which could lead to more resources and experience and make Brazil more important in the clinical research area. Additionally, the attendees discussed the need for tax reform to ensure that patients were not negatively affected. The participants recognized the significance of the topics discussed, and it is hoped that Brazil will become more prominent in the clinical research area in the future, potentially generating billions for the market.

EF: Could you provide more insight into FIBRA and their initiatives?

RS: Innovation is a fundamental element to develop the pharmaceutical sector. It is important that Brazil supports innovation since in the long run will help develop the generic market. In order to have a generic you need an innovative drug.

Our innovation lab FIBRA, is making good progress. We have a product for anal fissures that is advancing to phase three, and we have closed a partnership with a local company called Cellera to conduct the study in Brazil. Our goal is to register and commercialize the product in Brazil and other developing markets. Ferring has four local innovation laboratories in China, India, Russian and Brazil. Each lab focuses on a particular technology, and they share best practices and communicate with each other regularly. In the case of Brazil, we have several initiatives in gastroenterology and reproductive medicine area.

EF: At this time of transformation on a global scale, what advice would you give to other leaders and multinationals in the industry?

RS: Emerging markets present a good opportunity for multinational companies. In Ferring, we see that while Europe faces challenges with generics and regulations, Latin America still experiences double-digit growth. As the GM (General Manager) for Brazil and Latin America, I see the potential for growth in the region. Our share in Europe has been increasing as we bring our innovations from Latin America to the market. My advice to other leaders in the industry is to look at emerging markets and invest in innovation in these regions, as they offer great potential for growth.

EF: What is the strategy behind Ferring's initiatives to push reproductive health further and increase awareness and access to fertility treatment?  

RS: To begin with, we focused on Brazil, specifically on the fertility market. Brazil has around 200 fertility clinics. However, there are issues with access since the treatments are not reimbursed, and patients must pay out of their pockets. Despite these problems, Brazil and Latin America still have a lot of potential in this area.  

Ferring’s aim is to support patients throughout their entire journey towards building a family - from conception until birth. As part of this effort, we have introduced an obstetric product in Brazil, which effectively treats post-partum hemorrhage and safeguards the health of both mother and child during delivery. This development is a significant step towards realizing our goal.

Our objective is to expand fertility treatments by raising awareness and education. We have several initiatives across LATAM such as “Plan M” in Mexico and Colombia, “Poder Fertilidad” in Chile and Argentina and “Gravidez na minha hora” in Brazil. While the focus is not on promoting products, these initiatives aim to inform women about their situation and provide tips. For instance, if a woman has been trying to conceive for several months without success, it may be recommended for her to visit a fertility clinic.  

Another important trend that is being observed in Latin America, particularly in Brazil, is that many women are starting to work in professional roles and are delaying motherhood for various reasons. This is where the option of freezing eggs comes in, which can help women plan their lives and careers. Our initiatives provide education to women to help them reach fertility clinics that offer them this opportunity. Ultimately, it is about empowering women to make choices that are best suited to their lives, careers, and aspirations.

Ferring is prioritizing investment in women's health, recognizing the insufficient attention given to this area compared to other diseases. The company is committing significant resources to this field and believes it's crucial to continue supporting it.  
One of the specific areas of focus for Ferring is obstetrics. It's astonishing that in the 21st century, many women still die during childbirth, with one woman passing away every two minutes globally during pregnancy, and every four minutes due to postpartum hemorrhage.

Ferring recently launched a product to prevent postpartum hemorrhage in Brazil, where the country's maternal mortality rate is well above the World Health Organization's objective of less than 70 deaths per 100,000 births. Ferring's goal is to have the product available in both private and public hospitals, particularly in the public sector where 85% of Brazil's 2.6 million births occur, as the impact of maternal mortality extends beyond individual families and affects society as a whole.

EF: What are the key pillars to build a sustainable business in the life science sector?

RS: The sustainability in the life sciences sector emphasizes the importance of having a high-quality product, backed by reliable clinical studies, to convince both the private and public sectors to use it for disease prevention or cure. Education and awareness are also essential in all therapeutic areas. For instance, in the fertility area, women might not be aware that they cannot conceive until it is too late.  

Quality scientific evidence, support, and education are key factors in developing a pharmaceutical company in an emerging market. Ferring is celebrating 30 years of being in Brazil and is thrilled to bring our postpartum solution to the market to help women.

EF: Which achievements of Ferring Brazil in the last 30 years would you like to acknowledge, and how has Ferring's strategy reinforced Brazil's significance as a critical market in Latin America?

RS: Regarding the things that should persist in Brazil, I believe that firstly, it is crucial to introduce product launches in both the private and public sectors. Secondly, the expansion of FIBRA and innovation must continue to cater to the Brazilian market and eventually expand to other markets. Thirdly, referring back to our prior conversation about clinical trials and innovation, Ferring has products in pipeline to introduce to Brazil and Latin America as soon as possible. This would help to bring innovation to an emerging market, and there is a huge market opportunity that we believe in.

April 2023