Argentinians have become excellent problem solvers. With extensive scientific and engineering expertise, creativity and ambition, as well as a desire to speak out and take decisions that defines Argentinians alike from Messi to the pope, the country’s pharmaceutical industry has established a pattern of strong growth in times of plenty, and minimizing losses during periods of inflation and recession, in effect ‘beating the cycle.’ Along the way, the top Argentinian labs have developed into a powerhouse pharmaceutical industry that rivals the multinational sector domestically, and has taken a position of leadership in markets across the region.
Truly diamonds in the rough, the top Argentinian pharma and biopharma laboratories are forces to be reckoned with wherever they do business. “Argentina is one of the few nations worldwide that has a domestic pharma industry that dominates the international pharma sector in terms of revenue; seven out of the ten top firms are Argentinian, and 60 percent of the market value is sold by Argentinian laboratories,” explains Fransisco Cervo, the general manager of Elea. Patrice Fuster, the general director of Sanofi Argentina, clarifies that these national companies “are not nationals in the traditional sense, as they are giants; they are regional companies, exporting their products around the world. They have an extremely strong presence and are very competitive in Argentina, and their brands are incredibly strong.” One of these domestic giants stands significantly above the rest, with more than nine percent of the market, nearly twice that of the next highest grossing competitor, Bagó.
“Every ten years we have a crisis. Our current crisis is not as bad as the one in 2001 its magnitude is manageable.” – Marcelo Figueiras, President of Lab Richmond
“We are a country of cycles,” explains the president of Lab Richmond, Marcelo Figueiras. “Every ten years we have a crisis. Our current crisis is not as bad as the one in 2001 its magnitude is manageable.” Amid occasional patches of negativity, pessimism, and disgruntlement with current government policy, Figueiras’s attitude pervades; things are very cyclical in Argentina, the situation will improve in a year or two, and this crisis isn’t particularly severe.
While the pharma industry has outperformed other sectors in recent years, Mariano Sanchez, the partner in charge of healthcare at KPMG, points out a few external and structural factors that have contributed to the success of the industry over the last 13 years. “Following the crisis in 2001,” he explains, “a significant number of multinational pharmaceutical companies started to sell their production facilities in Argentina,” and a few years later the government “put in place the controls on imports that we see today, and instituted the ‘national preference’ policies in many parts of the healthcare industry.” According to Sanchez, “together, these three factors drove the development of the Argentinian pharmaceutical industry over the past 15 years, as some of the larger local companies were able to acquire high-tech manufacturing facilities from multinational companies at liquidation prices, and then were given a privileged position in the market and protected from foreign competition.” In addition to the protectionist policies described above, the pharma industry also benefits from several other governmental support measures, including low rate investment credits awarded for Argentina’s bicentennial in 2010 and direct support for R&D from the ministry of science and technology, through its national research council CONICET and the national university system.
A new report from PharmaBoardroom, available today for free download, looks at the challenges and opportunities for the Argentinian pharma sector and investigates what the future holds in store for the country.
Eduardo Neira, President, AstraZeneca Argentina
Hugo Sigman, CEO, Grupo Insud
Alberto Alvarez Saavedra, President, Gador
Juan Pablo Bagó, General Director Pharma, Bagó
Francisco Cervo, Director General, Elea
Alfredo Chiaradia, Director General, CILFA
Ernesto Felicio, Executive President, CAEMe
Alejandro Smolje, Finance Director, Janssen Argentina
Maria Gabriela Pittis, Country Manager, Shire Argentina
Francisco Molinari, CEO, Amega Biotech
Mauro Bono, President and Founder, Savant
Esteban Echenique, General Manager, Argentia
Santiago Garcia Belmonte, Chairman, Biosidus