Lance Duan, general manager of Roche Malaysia, discusses the dynamic changes in the country’s health system and the possibilities that exist for Roche to establish a collaborative relationship with the new government. Duan also describes the many initiatives Roche has to support Malaysian patients from a varying degree of angles, including education, prevention, access, and treatment. Overall, how would you rate the performance of the Malaysian affiliate over the last several years? Looking into Roche’s performance, there is a high correlation with the market performance of Malaysia. For example, in 2014 the affiliate’s performance matched the positive economy of the country, growing by ten percent from the previous year. Consequently, when the 2016 oil crisis hit the nation and caused the economy to suffer, Roche felt a similar impact. Despite the challenge, we have grown 23 percent in 2017 compared to 2016 in terms of patient numbers, especially in our key disease areas. This year we have even experienced 30 percent growth since last year and if the new government holds their promise of a rejuvenated healthcare system, Roche Malaysia will grow even faster. In Malaysia, healthcare expenditure only accounts for around 4.5 percent of GDP. In regard to drug expenditure, we have seen a decreasing trend – going from RM 2.4 billion in 2014 to RM 1.9 billion currently. The new government has stated that they aim to double public spending, increasing the GDP percentage from 4.5 to six or seven percent. However, we have yet to see any specific agenda created. While we are excited to see the ambition for monitory investment, discussing the specific steps to be taken in order to achieve these goals is critical. How does Roche ensure that products are launched effectively and what are the key assets for success in Malaysia? Open communication with the government is the key to ensuring a smooth access to any market. I believe the best time for government engagement is not at the time of a product launch, but rather as early as possible, especially in regards to bringing clinical trials to the country. We are pleased that since last year, we have begun to advance with new clinical trials which will elevate our pipeline in Malaysia.
Open communication with the government is the key to ensuring a smooth access to any market