Interview: Milan Paleja – Country President & General Manager, Novartis Indonesia

Milan Paleja, country president and general manager of Novartis Indonesia, discusses his main priorities since assuming his current position and the organization’s business expansion strategy, based on enhancing patient access to innovative medicines in both the public and private sectors.

Mr. Paleja, you were appointed as country president and general manager of Novartis Pharmaceuticals in Indonesia back in March 2016. What was your assigned mission?

“We are committed to leveraging Novartis innovation and improving Indonesian patients’ lives.”

Novartis is committed to improving and extending patient lives by providing patients with access to our innovative medicines. When I was appointed to lead Novartis Indonesia, I had four priorities.

First, enhance our operational efficiency and motivate our team. Second, drive the growth of Novartis Indonesia by increasing access to our products in both public and private sectors. Third, position Novartis as the government’s partner in implementing the Universal Healthcare Coverage Program or JKN. Fourth, diversify our product offerings to different therapeutic areas.

What have been your biggest accomplishments during the first year of mandate?

We actively worked with various stakeholders in supporting Indonesia’s National Health Insurance Program (NHIP). Thanks to our multi-stakeholder engagements and highly motivated team, Novartis Indonesia group’s growth was by 16 percent in 2016, a growth rate that is twice that of the multinational pharma industry. By utilizing innovative digital media, we provided continuing medical education (CME) to healthcare professionals in remote areas. To date, our CME programs have reached more than 800 physicians in different therapeutic areas and planned for additional 800 in year to go.

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What is your strategy to successfully navigate within such a dynamic environment?

Our business expansion strategy is based on enhancing patient access in both public and private sectors, and providing CME.

We are focused on providing our innovative and effective medicines to more Indonesian patients, particularly in new therapeutic areas and for diseases that have a heavy socio-economic burden such as Heart Failure.

For the public market, we have 28 SKUs listed in the national formulary, available for all Indonesians who are covered by the NHIP.

On a parallel and complementary track, we run CME programs to inform doctors and other healthcare professionals in both public and private sectors about our innovative products.

Our goal is twofold: to make the right medicines available and to enable the right healthcare professionals to prescribe them, i.e. enhance the skills of doctors in Indonesia and bring innovative medicines to the country.

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What are the synergies between pharmaceuticals, oncology and eye care Business under Novartis Indonesia and how are you fostering them?

To achieve our mission of improving and extending patients’ lives, we have a program called “Customer First” in which all Novartis divisions collaborate on initiatives that prioritize our customers, including the NHIP and key accounts, as well as provide value to patients.

In 2014 as part of an ongoing productivity initiative, Novartis created a shared services organization called Novartis Business Services (NBS), which consolidated a number of business support services currently spread across divisions. This synergy allows Novartis divisions to focus more on customer-facing activities.

Innovation is within the core values of Novartis; hence, the company invests approximately 18-20 % of its total revenues in developing R&D activities. How much of such innovation is going to be brought to the country in order to target the Indonesian patients’ needs?

We are committed to leveraging Novartis innovation and improving Indonesian patients’ lives. To date, we have launched five new medicines in Indonesia addressing Heart Failure, COPD, Multiple Sclerosis, Psoriasis and Cancer. The 800 hundred and more physicians that we are engaging will then have the ability to reach out to thousands and thousands of patients across Indonesia to make their lives better.

What are the three main objectives that you would like to achieve in the upcoming two years?

As I have mentioned earlier, our goal is twofold: to make the right medicines available and to enable the right healthcare professionals to prescribe them, i.e. enhance the skills of doctors in Indonesia and bring innovative medicines to the country.

In the upcoming years, we want to further strengthen our collaboration with the Indonesian Government, particularly the Ministry of Health & Ministry of Finance, in order to support the NHIP and increase access to Novartis products.

We aim to build up our team competencies and send outstanding Indonesian talents to Novartis group companies overseas.

Last but not the least; we will develop patient support programs across key therapeutic areas in order to help more Indonesian patients gain access to innovative and effective treatments.

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