The country manager of a multinational keen to ramp up its activities in the local market discusses the strategic importance of the Algerian pharmaceutical sector from both a regional and global perspective and sheds light on the sorts of market entry strategies that can be adopted.
What are your priorities for Servier since your appointment as Managing Director four months ago?
Our first priority is our real desire to develop our activities in the Algerian market thereby we have to improve our knowledge of this market and better meet the medical needs in our therapeutic domains: hypertension, heart failure, ischemia, diabetes, etc… We also intend to further increase our turnover which is currently 16 million Euros being a growth of 14% against last year.
In addition and as a consequence, there is also an increased investment in human resources with the enlargement of our Sales force, Marketing and Training team. Today, we have a workforce of approximately 60 people. We will continue to recruit highly educated, qualified graduates and candidates according to our growth.
Is it hard to find these talents?
No not really, although we are very demanding we have succeeded in recruiting excellent candidates. Algeria has an enormous number of talented graduates in the medical and pharmaceutical field. We recruit medical doctors, pharmacists and vets so that we may reply adequately and professionally to our exchanges with the medical corps and health authorities.
Do you intend to develop partnerships?
We intend to develop our partnerships in the fields of Diabetes and Cardiology mainly by supporting initiatives from National and Regional societies through congresses, medical training, etc… Servier is willing to develop the education program of doctors in our known pathologies which we already do everywhere. These partnerships are underway with the concerned scientific societies like the Algerian Society of Cardiology and Algerian Society of Diabetes. These partnerships enable us to participate actively in Congresses by organising Satellite Symposiums and to work with the Key Opinion Leaders of these scientific societies. We will also have the opportunity in the future, to work in Oncology with the corresponding medical societies as Servier has several molecules under development.
What are the next steps for Servier facilities in Algeria?
My presence as General Manager, the first expatriate to be based in Algeria, is a strong sign of Serviers’ investment in human resources in Algeria.
We are in the process of creating an adequate legal structure in Algeria and opening our own Servier office.
In addition, a new partnership has been established in April 2014 with the Pharmaceutical Company Saidal. This partnership will enable us to manufacture locally. Discussions for local manufacturing with other pharmaceutical firms and partners are also taking place. ￼￼￼
￼￼￼￼Until now Servier was importing mainly finished products, and we are now working with the authorities to develop our local production. The goal is to attain 70% in local production within three years.
How do you ensure products quality with your partner Saidal?
Staff representatives working in the Servier technical production teams from our factory in Gidy, which is our largest production site in France, visited all Saidal factory sites and are in the process of analysing and verifying that all standards are met to be able to start the production. Saidal staff representatives have also come to France to analyse processes, know-how, technology transfer and meet suppliers in order to make sure the product quality is respected in France for the Algerian market.
How do you evaluate the Algerian market? What are the main elements in Algeria?
The Algerian market is one of the biggest in Africa and continually growing with an impressive social security coverage compared to many other countries in Africa. Therefore, Algerian citizens have a very good social security coverage which is often better than in numerous European countries.
Moreover, and as already mentioned, Hypertension, Diabetes, Heart Failure or tumours are becoming very substantial diseases and a key proportion of the Servier portfolio is well adapted to treating patients, who suffer from these conditions, more effectively. Moreover, in Algeria, an impressive governmental hospital development programme is in process and this is an opportunity for Servier to increase its cooperation with key actors from the hospitals for the mutual benefit of the patients.
What is the strategic level of Algeria in relation to your regional and international activities?
At the moment, South Africa is the largest subsidiary of the Servier group in Africa. In less than four years, Algeria should become the first African subsidiary in terms of revenue and we will do our best to achieve this.
How do you assess Algeria as a key destination for clinical research?
Servier Algeria is participating for the first time in a clinical trial. This is a multicenter study entitled ATPCI (The efficAcy and safety of Trimetazidine in Patients with angina pectoris having been treated by percutaneous Coronary Intervention) with the recruitment of patients in 50 countries worldwide. Algeria is the only country which has been selected in Africa. The results and level of research in Algeria were impressive and this is very promising for future involvement of Algeria on an international scale. This is further evidence that Servier is very confident in their future commitments with Algeria. ￼￼￼
￼￼￼￼Eventually, what would you want our readers and the Algerian government to know about Algeria and your presence in Algeria?
Algeria is a stable country, the largest country in Africa with a real potential for the pharmaceutical business and the social coverage of the population which is a real asset for Algerian patients. The Algerian government is making huge efforts to maintain or increase the social security coverage and the services offered to Algerian citizens. That’s why Servier is convinced that Algeria has a promising work environment for pharmaceutical companies and is business orientated.
We will do our utmost to adapt ourselves to the Health Authorities and do everything to respect the local pharmaceutical requirements.
Servier wishes to be present in Algeria in the long term, to develop partnerships with scientific societies and industrial partnerships in accordance with the rules and traditions of the country. In these conditions, all parties will benefit.
To read more articles and interviews from Algeria, and to download the latest free report on the country, click here.