The global pharmaceutical industry is experiencing important changes. Among them, the loss of patents to major blockbusters, the arrival of biosimilars and, more importantly, a new scene regarding regulatory issues. With respect to the latter, Mexico has gone through many changes. We are not the only ones; it’s something we’re seeing in many countries around the world. Because of this, strategic creativity and a renewed focus communication campaigns have become a must.
Mexico is the second-largest pharmaceutical market in Latin America, with a 15% share of the region and an estimated value of $190 billion pesos ($14.8 billion USD) in 2011. The picture in the pharmaceutical sector in the region is encouraging, as expected sales in Latam are expected to surpass the $1.2 billion mark in 2016.
According to IMS Health, 40% of the Mexican pharmaceutical market is led by the brand-name innovations from private-sector firms, verus 18% from government-owned institutions. However, generics account for a 42% share currently. This “generics revolution” is going strong and increasing significantly. Newly-approved generics, which offer an average per-product savings of 60%-90 on average to the consumer, amount to an estimated net savings of around $14 billion over the next four years. This is a profound change.Many of these industry changes are strongly driven by public policy. In the last 3 years, important changes on health legislation improved by the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks (COFEPRIS), the highest regulatory authority in the national health field. Changes include advertising and generics (regarding market access policy), among others. In an attempt to streamline its processes, COFEPRIS has also reached equivalence agreements with the FDA and Canada on devices, meaning that if a product is approved for use in the US or Canada it is also approved in Mexico. In a similar manner, COFEPRIS now sets the standard for other Latin American nations.
Regarding the “generics revolution” from October 2011 to October 2012, COFEPRIS released 25 patents of active substances, which could license up to 181 new generic products. These include Lipitor, for cholesterol; Viagra, for erectile dysfunction; Zyprexa, for schizophrenia; Singulair for asthma; Plavix, for thrombosis; Diovan for blood pressure, Lexapro for depression, and Taxotere, to treat certain cancers.
According to experts generic consumption will continue to grow with the release of patents and government’ support. This is why communication in healthcare must:
- Be aligned with the environment’s needs and changes.
- Have the ability to generate value on the drugs “access fight.”
- Redefine the role of all stakeholders and audiences to accomplish successful and accurate strategic communications.
- Promote value-added strategies that address public health needs regarding aging populations and growth in chronic diseases.
- Increase digital communication, as well as, social media tactics among all audiences.