Alberto Navia-Osorio Pascual enthusiastically describes how Viatris has established itself as the leading pharmaceutical company in Portugal, leveraging the strengths of its integrated portfolios. The company has focused on brand recognition, customer engagement, and maintaining a strong relationship with healthcare professionals and pharmacists through extensive training initiatives. Navia-Osorio Pascual also outlines how the creation of a unified culture within Viatris has been pivotal to its success, integrating compliance into its cultural framework to ensure that its operations meet the highest standards and align with its commitment to healthcare.
Can you describe the pharmaceutical market landscape in Portugal when you arrived, particularly focusing on the presence of Mylan and Pfizer Upjohn? How did the breadth and width of their activities influence the portfolio and healthcare solutions?
When I arrived in Portugal, the pharmaceutical market was marked by the significant presence of Mylan, which had a well-established position with a diverse portfolio encompassing both branded and generic medications. Viatris broad range of products includes material brands and generic alternatives, providing a comprehensive solution for various health needs. This diversity aligned with the Viatris mission to empower people worldwide to live healthier at every stage of life. The integration of two legacies with robust portfolios resulted in an extensive array of SKUs covering different needs, effectively supporting individuals throughout their lives. Our broad, global portfolio includes products that help treat the top 10 leading causes of death globally, as determined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The portfolio synergy was particularly advantageous as it included originators of gold-standard treatments for numerous diseases. This allowed us to cater to a broad spectrum of individuals, irrespective of their income or preference for branded or generic medications. Our goal was to be a reliable partner, ensuring access to medicines and over-the-counter (OTC) products, considering the diverse needs of the population.
At the time of my arrival, there was a substantial difference in the size of the two legacies. My focus shifted towards integration efforts, talent retention, and fostering a shared organizational culture. The integration was successful, resulting in a robust and dynamic organization. We take pride in our high engagement rates, surpassing benchmarks in both the Portuguese market and the pharmaceutical sector.
Over time, our Portuguese Viatris organization has evolved into a dynamic entity. We actively promote and support our employees, emphasizing a healthy workplace culture. Currently, we operate with over 200 people, primarily in commercial roles across the region, with main offices in Lisbon and Porto. Additionally, we have around 30 regional colleagues based in Portugal, supporting operations in other countries. This approach not only provides growth opportunities for Portuguese professionals but also facilitates their progression into global roles within regional clusters. Overall, our commitment to a healthy culture and diverse workforce has contributed to the success and engagement of our organization in the pharmaceutical sector.
Reflecting on the integration of the two portfolios, how has the company’s position evolved within the Portuguese pharmaceutical market? Can you elaborate on your current standing and the synergies that have contributed to your success as the leading pharmaceutical company in Portugal?
Today, we find ourselves in a robust position within the Portuguese pharmaceutical market, leveraging the strengths of both portfolios to enhance our market presence. The combined portfolios have proven to be synergistic, creating a comprehensive offering that has elevated our status. In terms of brand recognition and equity, we are proud to be widely known, and our products have gained a strong reputation in the market.
As it stands, Viatris holds the position of the number one pharmaceutical company in Portugal in terms of value, though it’s essential to note that in unit terms, generic companies take precedence. This positioning is a testament to the success of integrating two diverse portfolios and the collaborative efforts of talented individuals from both companies. The infusion of varied perspectives from different backgrounds has resulted in a competitive advantage, reinforcing our belief that diversity is a key driver of success.
Viatris is a Global HealthCare company, with a workforce of approximately 38 000 colleagues and approximately 40 manufacturing sites across the world. We believe in healthcare as it should be – empowering people worldwide to live healthier at every stage of life. Because of our unwavering belief that better access leads to better health, we leverage our best-in-class manufacturing and scientific expertise and proven commercial capabilities to bring quality medicines to patients when and where they need them.
We have 3 pillars: Leadership, Access and Partnership. Our Expectations are Own It, Be Real, Stay Agile, Take Pride. These simple but powerful words define our culture and make us Stronger Together. They are what we do well when we are at our best, what drives our success and what we could do better to deliver on our mission of empowering people worldwide to live healthier at every stage of life.
Our product diversity combined with the organization’s global scale, local approach, excellent partners, as well as a deep knowledge of our markets, enables better access to medicines to patients. And that is exactly what we stand for – patient access. Viatris’ differentiated portfolio includes branded medicines, generics and complex generics in a wide range of therapeutic areas. Additionally, our strengthened position allows us to engage more effectively with decision-makers, regulators, and government officials. This engagement is crucial for conveying our approach, values, and commitment to supporting an improved healthcare system. Overall, the synergies created through the integration have not only solidified our market position but also enhanced our ability to contribute meaningfully to the healthcare landscape in Portugal.
Could you elaborate on specific touchpoints that set Viatris apart, considering your ability to address a wide range of healthcare requirements for the population?
Viatris stands out as a unique healthcare company, and there are several key elements that contribute to our distinctiveness. Firstly, our emphasis on a broad portfolio of products sets us apart. Unlike companies focused solely on developing a few blockbuster drugs or catering exclusively to rare diseases, we take pride in offering a wide range of medicines and solutions. This approach allows us to address the diverse healthcare needs of the population, from life-saving medications for critical conditions to solutions for common ailments like coughs and colds.
One notable example is our history to providing flu vaccines. Portugal boasts one of the highest vaccination rates for the flu in Europe, we successfully secured the last national tender and we are proud to be serving approximately 20% of the population. This reflects our dedication to contributing meaningfully to public health on a broad scale.
Another distinguishing factor is our origin. Viatris has been built on a rich heritage, integrating aspects from various companies, including Mylan, Upjohn and others. This amalgamation presented a unique challenge and opportunity to create a common culture. Cultivating a shared identity and values was a top priority when I first arrived, ensuring that we could harness the collective strengths of our diverse heritage.
In essence, Viatris’ special character lies in our ability to offer a comprehensive portfolio that addresses the full spectrum of healthcare needs. We aim to move beyond the traditional categorizations of being exclusively branded, generic, or focused on any specific disease. Instead, our focus is on being a healthcare partner that provides accessible solutions for a wide range of diseases and healthcare scenarios. This approach not only differentiates us in the market but also aligns with our commitment to supporting the health and well-being of a broad and diverse population.
How did you approach the process of creating a unified culture at Viatris, considering the diverse backgrounds of your colleagues from various companies?
Establishing a unified culture at Viatris has been a multifaceted process that involves trust, inclusivity, and a deep understanding of the diverse expectations that come with colleagues from different backgrounds. Accelerating this cultural integration wasn’t about speed but about creating an environment where everyone feels heard and valued. To achieve this, we formed a cultural committee comprising individuals from within the company, allowing for diverse perspectives to shape our collective identity. This inclusive approach helped us navigate the varied expectations and concerns arising from the merger.
Trust and embracing the importance of culture were foundational elements. I believe culture is not something one can build alone, so active involvement and collaboration with employees were crucial. Walking the talk, especially as a Country Manager, involved engaging with the team, listening to their perspectives, and ensuring that leadership embodied the cultural values. This approach helped make our culture tangible and real for everyone, fostering a sense of comfort and confidence among employees.
Our distinctiveness lies not only in our broad portfolio but also in the people who contribute to our unique culture. The combination of talent from different companies has created a diverse and dynamic work environment. It’s essential to continuously emphasize that our culture is a living entity that evolves every day, requiring ongoing commitment and effort. We established cultural stability, but the commitment to nurturing our culture remains a daily focus.
Can you also elaborate on how Viatris incorporates compliance into its cultural framework and the ongoing efforts to maintain a high level of reputation and commitment to healthcare?
Compliance is a pivotal component of our cultural framework. In the sensitive field of healthcare, maintaining the highest standards is imperative. We work diligently to integrate compliance into our daily operations, ensuring that our reputation aligns with our commitment to the well-being of individuals. This includes rigorous efforts to meet regulatory requirements, producing medications responsibly, and creating a trustworthy brand. Compliance, coupled with a commitment to providing access to medicines, ensures that patients can confidently rely on our products, reinforcing our reputation in the industry.
Our commitment to culture extends beyond internal dynamics; it’s a vital aspect of our value proposition to both our team and external stakeholders. We recognize that being compliant is not only a regulatory necessity but also a key element in building and preserving trust. This holistic approach, encompassing culture, compliance, and commitment to healthcare, defines Viatris as a unique and reputable player in the pharmaceutical sector.
What is Viatris’s positioning in the Portuguese market and its significance within the European context? Moreover, how does the company approach diverse and decentralized European markets, considering the challenges and opportunities they present?
Being a market leader in Portugal is a source of pride for Viatris, and it comes with a high level of responsibility. The dynamics of the Portuguese market differ from other European countries, particularly in terms of centralization. Portugal has a more centralized healthcare system, which brings both advantages and challenges. Decision-making processes are often more streamlined, but it also requires adaptability to navigate the centralized nature of the system. Despite the challenges, the decision-makers in Portugal are well-prepared and accountable, and we work diligently to communicate effectively with them.
In the broader European context, each market presents unique challenges due to varying degrees of decentralization. My experience in countries like Italy and Spain contrasts with the more centralized approach in Portugal. The key is to understand and adapt to the specific dynamics of each market.
How does Viatris actively engage with healthcare professionals and pharmacists in Portugal, given their crucial role in the healthcare system, and what initiatives has the company undertaken to strengthen these relationships?
In Portugal, our engagement with healthcare professionals and pharmacists is a cornerstone of our strategy. The healthcare professional (HCP) and pharmacist community play a pivotal role in the country’s traditional and respected healthcare system. Viatris invests significantly in training initiatives, having conducted over 100 training activities for more than 10,000 physicians and pharmacists in the first nine months of 2023. This investment reflects our commitment to strengthening relationships with these key stakeholders, ensuring they are well-equipped with the knowledge they need. Pharmacies, in particular, have a frontline role, as seen in their involvement in COVID and flu vaccination efforts and the renewal of chronic medication prescriptions.
The proactive engagement with healthcare professionals and pharmacists aligns with our commitment to being close to our customers. It’s not just about being a market leader but about actively contributing to the efficiency and effectiveness of the Portuguese healthcare system. As we continue to invest in training and collaborative initiatives, we strive to uphold the highest standards of service, building lasting relationships with those at the forefront of patient care.
How does Viatris navigate the potential overwhelm that HCPs may experience with multiple companies offering various digital solutions? Additionally, could you share insights into how Viatris’s approach to digital engagement is co-creative, tailoring training and initiatives based on the specific needs and insights of the HCP community?
Digital engagement with healthcare professionals is a nuanced challenge, especially considering the potential overwhelm from multiple companies offering various digital solutions. At Viatris, we recognize this challenge and take a co-creative approach to digital engagement. Instead of imposing generalized training on HCPs, our strategy involves actively seeking insights from the healthcare community. We engage with HCPs and pharmacists, understanding their specific needs and challenges. This insight-driven approach enables us to co-create tailored training initiatives that directly address the issues faced by the professionals.
For instance, if HCPs express a need for more targeted training on mental health issues among their patients, we collaborate with scientific societies and key opinion leaders to develop focused and relevant content. This ensures that the training we provide is not only timely but also directly applicable to the challenges healthcare professionals are encountering in their practice.
In terms of digital engagement, whether through webinars or other digital platforms, our high levels of participation and engagement stand as a testament to the effectiveness of our approach. We actively involve HCPs in the design and development of our digital initiatives, making them co-creators of the content. This co-creative process not only enhances the relevance of the training but also fosters a sense of ownership and engagement among the professionals.
How does Viatris measure the success of its engagement efforts, and what feedback or ratings have you observed from HCPs regarding the value of the training provided?
To measure the success of our engagement efforts, we carefully assess feedback and ratings from participants. The high satisfaction ratings and positive feedback received indicate that HCPs value the training initiatives provided by Viatris. This recognition reinforces our belief that a co-creative and tailored approach to digital engagement is not only effective but also appreciated by healthcare professionals. It’s a continuous process of listening, adapting, and delivering training that truly meets the evolving needs of the healthcare community.
In light of the recent changes in legislation regarding tenders in Portugal, particularly the emphasis on pricing as a crucial criterion, how does Viatris navigate these challenges, and could you shed light on the impact of this legislation on Viatris’s operations and strategies?
The recent changes in legislation related to tenders in Portugal, especially the increased emphasis on pricing, are an understandable short-term reaction by health authorities facing reduced fiscal space but could pose challenges for longer term sustainability of medicines availability. While recognizing the budget constraints faced by health authorities, Viatris highlights the importance of considering factors beyond price in the tendering process to enable greater sustainability of the market, and ultimately for patient access to medicines. The company advocates for a more comprehensive evaluation of criteria that constitute value, including possibly taking into account sustainability, environmental impact, and the supply chain.
Viatris maintains open communication with health authorities, seeking opportunities for adaptation and improvement of the procurement system to better enable sustained availability of medicines. The company encourages a more nuanced approach to tender evaluation, one that considers the specific needs of different therapeutic areas and hospitals. Viatris acknowledges the role of the Share Services Agency in preparing tenders and hopes for adaptability in the process to accommodate a broader range of criteria beyond price, fostering a more balanced and sustainable approach to procurement.
What is the company’s perspective on sustainability?
As a company uniquely positioned to bridge the traditional divide between generics and brands, we combine the best of both, to more holistically address healthcare needs globally. As a signatory to the UN Global Compact, we believe that companies can play a relevant role in serving as a positive force to help address some of society’s greatest challenges.
Viatris supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 17 SDGs launched in 2015 serve as a roadmap for countries, communities and companies on universally important areas for a more sustainable and inclusive development by 2030. The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant impact on many of the goals, and in some areas, previous gains have been reversed. Further, the growing impacts of climate change on environmental and human health puts on all of us to do our part to reduce negative impact and help make positive progress.
What are the three key future goals for Viatris in Portugal, considering factors like growth, performance, and portfolio expansion?
Our first goal is to keep doing what we do best – performing exceptionally well in the Portuguese market. We’ve been seeing success, and we want to maintain that momentum. Growth is key for us, and we’re not just talking about incremental growth; we’re aiming for substantial expansion. Viatris empowers people worldwide to live healthier at every stage of life.
Managing one of the largest pharmaceutical portfolios is a privilege, and we want to make it even more impressive. We’re actively working on bringing in more brands and products. It’s not just about what we create ourselves; we’re also looking to establish partnerships. Sometimes, there are innovative products out there that lack the commercial push. By partnering with others, we work to increase access to medicine, improve patient health and support communities to address unmet needs.
Part of our vision involves strategic collaborations. We recognize that some companies are brilliant in research and development but might not have the commercial acumen. That’s where we come in. By forming smart partnerships, we can bring our commercial strengths together with their innovative products. It’s a win-win – we diversify our portfolio, and they get the support they need to thrive in specific therapeutic areas.
Our future in Portugal is about building our success, expanding our portfolio through both internal and external efforts, and strategically collaborating to make a lasting impact on the pharmaceutical landscape. It’s an exciting journey, and we’re ready for the challenges and opportunities that come our way.
The way we approach it in Portugal is to focus on three key areas. One of them is to consistently deliver growth. Our roadmap is to not only optimize our existing portfolio but also exploring partnerships and launching new products, especially in areas where there is a demand for tailored solutions.
Also, a very important path to growth is in our organizational culture. We’re very proud of the recent recognition we’ve received as Viatris was named one of the world’s best employers by Forbes. This is not just a title, it signifies our ongoing commitment to fostering a positive work environment, ensuring our people are engaged, motivated, and invested in our shared success. Our aim in Portugal is to maintain this positive culture and ensure that our Portuguese affiliates actively contribute to and support these initiatives.
Another key element in the future growth of Viatris Portugal is giving back to the society that supports us. Thus, our commitment to corporate social responsibility is a key. To facilitate that, we have set up an internal committee, involving employees in decision-making, directs our efforts toward supporting various causes. This includes healthcare initiatives, environmental projects like beach cleanups, and animal welfare. The Impact Week, coinciding with our anniversary reflects our dedication to community service, such as our upcoming support for an organization called Reflood, where employees contribute by cooking meals for those who need.
In essence, our future in Portugal revolves around holistic growth, nurturing our organizational culture, and making a meaningful impact through corporate social responsibility initiatives.