The UAE: Becoming a Global Pharma Management Hub

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From Turkey to Tajikistan, Bangladesh to Bahrain, and Russia to Rwanda, multinational pharma firms are increasingly situating wide-ranging management responsibilities in the UAE. The following is an inexhaustive list of some of the widely varying geographies being managed from the UAE, as well as insights from the executives overseeing them.

 

Merck

Middle East, Africa, Russia, Turkey & the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan & Uzbekistan)

 

When an organization is looking to geographically structure a region, certain trade-offs need to be understood

Paolo Carli

Paolo Carli, Merck’s head for the MEAR region recently told PharmaBoardroom that “there are around 1000 people under our responsibility spread over this network. The scope of our region managed from the Dubai hub is currently larger than Latin America and Asia for the healthcare side of the business, excluding China.”

Carlie added, “When an organization is looking to geographically structure a region, certain trade-offs need to be understood. Firstly, understanding the characteristics of each market is crucial for the effective grouping of regions. Therefore, we look at structuring markets with not necessarily identical but similar characteristics. Arguably, countries such as Turkey and Russia fall closer to emerging markets on the spectrum, in particular when comparing the healthcare systems of both countries to that of EU countries. Secondly, management bandwidth becomes crucial. What I mean by this, is that in a multinational company, a country cannot be left on its own; we have a global structure, global guidance, global mandates, and global steering as every multinational company does at some level. Therefore, the level of support given to a country needs to be comparable or prioritized in a way that ensures the correct amount of attention is being paid.  Finally, leadership is essential. Selecting a team that has effective leadership characteristics in volatile markets is a key success factor.”

Read the full interview here

 

 

Lilly

South Asia, Middle East, Turkey & Africa (SAMETA)

 

The size of the SAMETA region carries great responsibility and many challenges

José Antonio Alas

Lilly’s president and GM for the SAMETA region José Antonio Alas told us that the SAMETA region “is of crucial importance for the company as it encompasses 70 countries and around 50 percent of the world’s population.” He added that, “It is a big area and certainly humbling for me. Our footprint in terms of human capital is around 800 employees across the region. Eli Lilly has seven affiliates within SAMETA, most of them clusters of their own, even though Turkey and Saudi Arabia are self-standing affiliates.”

Alas did note that “The size of the SAMETA region carries great responsibility and many challenges.” He continued, “Last year we were the third largest operation in terms of revenues; it is a fairly sizeable operation. We are part of Lilly International, which includes all countries except the United States and Canada. China and Japan have recently been added recently to our international business unit; therefore, we expect to be Lilly’s fifth-largest operation next year.”

Read the full interview here

 

 

Mundipharma

Middle East, Turkey & Africa (META)

 

The META region is very diverse and to be able effectively and efficiently manage 50-plus markets we have decided to divide it into five clusters

Ashraf Allam

Mundipharma’s regional VP for META Ashraf Allam told us that “The region overseen by our office covers the Middle East, Turkey, and Africa (META), and it was the last piece of Mundipharma’s globalization. In 2012, the company began to expand its reach across emerging markets, and at the beginning of 2014, opened the office in Dubai. Mundipharma operates in a unique way because while it is a multinational company, it operates under the notion of independent associated companies, meaning that each legal entity has independence in terms of operation; we have necessary autonomy to tailor our strategies based on the local dynamics of the markets we are operating in.”

Allam added, “Our strategy in the META region was to grow the business into three different pillars: firstly, registering and launching products wholly owned by Mundipharma; secondly, licensing products from other companies, which has been one of the critical drivers of our growth because our licensing model is not based on having only a distribution agreement but rather a full licensing where we own the marketing authorization; and thirdly, the geographical expansion because in the past, the company did not have any presence beyond the standard distribution agreement model in the region. We had to transform the operating model from distribution to a full presence model.”

Splitting such a large region into manageable clusters has been key to Mundipharma’s success. “The META region is very diverse and to be able effectively and efficiently manage 50-plus markets we have decided to divide it into five clusters: Egypt, Near East, Central, and Northwest Africa; GCC, Iran, and Pakistan; South Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa; Saudi Arabia, a standalone affiliate, as well as Turkey. The Dubai office oversees the operations in all the clusters, which means providing guidance and counselling on compliance, legal, human resources, corporate affairs, finance, supply chain, marketing, and medical affairs.”

Read the full interview

 

 

Expanscience

Middle East, Africa & India

 

The more countries you open, the less you can dedicate to each country. So, we only open new countries when it makes complete sense

Frédéric Le Moigne

Frédéric Le Moigne, MD for Middle East, Africa & India at French skincare specialist Laboratoires Expanscience, notes that “We reached 12 countries in the Middle East and roughly 15 in Africa. Each country requires time and energy to be supported correctly, that means that the more countries you open, the less you can dedicate to each country. So, we only open new countries when it makes complete sense. For instance, we opened India for [key product] Mustela last year, which is very different from the Middle East but has incredible potential.”

He continues, “The main challenge for Mustela is to communicate the value of the brand. In many Middle East countries, we began selling just 5-10 years ago and we had to establish the brand from nothing. We started by the expertise point of view, working closely with doctors and pharmacies. Last year, while analyzing the usage of our products and habits of consumers, we found that Mustela is considered a scientific brand with expertise in skin health for babies. Professionals know the brand, but are still unaware of our corporate social responsibility, for example. There is much more we can communicate that will help us catch new customers.”

Read the full interview

 

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