The Czech Republic and Slovakia share a common past as Czechoslovakia, which parted in 1993. 23 years later, companies like LEO Pharma, Exeltis, and Wörwag are once again realising the synergies between these markets and adapting their strategies accordingly.
Regarding the Czech Republic and Slovakia is definitely beneficial, according to Renata Martinakova, Country Manager of LEO Pharma Czech Republic and Slovakia, “the most significant success in the past two years was the successful restructuring of our organization across both markets into one cluster organization rather than having two separate entities. I matched both teams and merged them which allowed me to utilize a leaner cost structure and synergies benefiting patients and business development alike”. She furthermore elaborates that LEO Pharma now has “significant growth potential to tap into which is just one of the reasons why we’re important towards LEO Pharma’s global operations!”
Indeed, LEO Pharma is not the only pharmaceutical company realizing the potential synergies between both markets. However, clustering both markets is not as easily done as it seems, explains Jana Mittman, general manager for Exeltis Czech Republic and Slovakia. “Although I was able to apply some learning to the Czech market and although we’ve been one country for many years, the Slovak and Czech people as well as the respective markets as such are most contradistinctive. My initial priority upon assuming responsibility for our Czech affiliate was to get to know the country. I had to meet people, study the country, and look for advice and information, thus completing the picture of the new market and learning how to do business in the Czech Republic” says Mittman. Although challenges needed to be overcome, Mitmann elaborates that the synergies are evident as “despite the differences, I can confidently say that we adapted our operations to the Czech market and Czech people just as successfully as we established ourselves in Slovakia. We were able to grow our market share by 35 percent within the last two years and only one competitor out of almost 20 is able to grow as fast as we do and compete”.
Although the markets are different as such they do have certain aspects in common, as Lucia Frzonova, Country Manager Czech Republic & Slovakia for Wörwag explains, ”historically, as we were one country for many years, aspects such as client mentality and communication are highly similar.” The common history as one country also impacts the scientific landscape of both countries, elaborates Frzonova, “two universities—one in Prague and one in Bratislava— dominate the scientific landscape and today’s industry professionals that have graduated from these universities are still linked. For us as pharmaceutical company, the latter benefit is quite significant as it naturally results in an excellent network. This scientific link also allows us to easily transfer our positive image from one country to the other”.