PharmaBoardroom last reported on Thailand in 2015, meeting country managers from across the healthcare and life sciences value chain. Here, we chart some of their career progressions since then.
Sticking with Servier
Guillaume Drianno was Thailand country manager for French firm Servier between 2013 and 2017. Prior to that, he served as country manager for Servier’s operations in Brazil. In 2015, Drianno told us about pharma market challenges in Thailand and the country’s future as an economic regional hub, commenting that, “Thailand is historically one of Southeast Asia’s economic centres because of the nation’s strategic location, as well as having a strong economy within the region. Southeast Asia is a region that has huge economic potential for Servier and the pharmaceutical industry as a whole.”
Southeast Asia is a region that has huge economic potential for Servier and the pharmaceutical industry as a whole
Drianno continues to work for Servier but has been serving as country manager for the Philippines since 2017, a successful venture that has generated more than USD 41 million in revenues in the past year.
Sharing Asian Expertise
Dane Christian Malherbe was the country manager for Pfizer’s Thailand operations when we spoke to him in 2015. He told us about Pfizer’s responsibility as the number one pharma company in Indochina and highlighted the potential of Thailand as a strategic investment destination for the global pharma industry. Malherbe noted that “Thailand has the potential to remain a key medical hub in Southeast Asia due to the amount of highly educated medical professionals and high-quality private hospitals here. With that said, there are still internal challenges Thailand is working out, but business for medical tourists has picked up over the last few years and the nation is playing a more vital role in providing healthcare for neighbouring countries.”
Thailand has the potential to remain a key medical hub in Southeast Asia
In 2017, after 18 years at Pfizer, Malherbe opened his own consulting firm, Malherbe Consulting, which he states “provides pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies with an unparalleled level of service and dedication to ensure the success of their projects in Asia.” In addition to managing Malherbe Consulting, he serves as the operations lead at Cohereum, an AI-based research analysis startup located in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Thailand’s Enduring Importance
Annie Tan, BMS
Annie Tan was country head of BMS Thailand in 2015 and also had responsibility for the company’s Asian distribution markets: Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia. She told us about the significance that Thailand played within BMS’ regional operations and the country’s potential to become a leader within Southeast Asia, noting that “Thailand is an important part of a bigger BMS cluster. We believe Thailand has the potential to become an expertise hub for Southeast Asia in the near future. BMS is actively working towards positioning Thailand as the regional hub due to its strategic location and good talent pool of entrepreneurial mindset.”
Sometimes the smallest chilli pepper is the spiciest—do not be fooled by our size!
Tan was in the midst of an organizational reshuffle in 2015, as BMS Thailand slimmed down its workforce in order to be “leaner, more agile and more adaptable, which translates into more value for the organization. Sometimes the smallest chilli pepper is the spiciest—do not be fooled by our size!” As of 2019, Tan is still in position.
John Clare, DKSH
John Clare was VP for healthcare Thailand at Swiss market expansion specialists DKSH when we spoke to him in 2015. In a large organization of 11,000 employees, 3,000 were under Clare’s supervision in the Thai healthcare business unit in 2015 and, since 2018, he has taken on an expanded role also covering Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.
Across the board we see strong potential [in Thailand]
He outlined what he felt was a complex, but highly promising market. “Anyone doing business in Thailand knows and understands that it is a vibrant market, which is complex due to the dynamic regulations and policies within the healthcare industry. The Kingdom is also a fairly complex market in terms of route-to-market.” Clare continued, “There are various market peculiarities and challenges for each specific healthcare segment. Across the board, however, we see strong potential. Growth rates in pharmaceuticals – which can only be prescribed by an official healthcare professional – and OTC drugs are promising. And particularly the medical devices segment shows strong growth. This growth is mostly driven by an ageing population and growing middle class in Thailand with more money to spend on their health and aesthetics.”