Appointed in August 2019 to head up Bayer Romania and Moldova’s Pharmaceuticals division, 15-year Bayer veteran Jorge Levinson may be new to the market but certainly not new to the general manager position.
Every country has its challenges and opportunities
Jorge Levinson, Bayer
He laughs, “this is the third country in which I have had the opportunity to lead our company to bring innovation and improve the health of patients.” Originally from Mexico, he has had a whirlwind of a career with Bayer, including stints in Spain, Ukraine, Morocco and Iran, as well as nearly five years in Germany overseeing the launch of Xarelto® – the biggest product in Bayer’s history – in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.
This has informed his management philosophy. He emphasizes, “every country has its challenges and opportunities and each country is different. I always start with the regulations and assess the opportunities and constraints in terms of operations, the introduction of new therapies, reimbursement and patient access to innovations.” While the daunting healthcare environment in Romania may be discouraging to some, he points out, “from an economic perspective, Romania grows at triple the rate of most European countries, with three to four percent annual GDP growth.” In addition, he adds, “its population is around 19 million, 40 percent of which are aged between 30 to 50 years. With an increasingly ageing population, our innovative therapies will gradually benefit more patients. I believe that Romania offers many opportunities.”
That said, he is not wearing rose-tinted glasses. He admits ruefully, “the main challenge is visibility on timelines. By law pricing and reimbursement needs to be approved within 27 days, which is not the case. I find myself wedged between German and Romanian clocks and must reconcile them.” However, his energy is palpable: “my initial objectives have not changed: to deliver innovative therapies and broaden patient access to our medicines while further enhancing trust towards Bayer across all our partners and stakeholders. There are great compounds in our pipeline which we expect to launch globally within the next years and much work has to be done to bring them to Romania [quickly].” Personally, he adds, “Bayer’s latest acquisition, BlueRock Therapeutics, is focused on engineered cell therapies. During my tenure, I would relish launching [this] innovation in Romania!”
His final message? “I aim to foster open communication within the organisation and to promote an environment of trust and respect for all stakeholders, externally and internally. I want to assure everyone that we are committed to the Romanian society and, in keeping with Bayer’s purpose, that we are bringing ‘Science for a better life’.”