"The expansion of the Brazilian market is very significant when it comes to the worldwide market"
Carlos Andrade, from Novartis OTC, started in the pharmaceutical segment in 1992 in the OTC area at Sterling Health and became a product manager in 1994. After going to Mexico he took on the marketing director position in Venezuela. In 1999, he became a category leader for the Andine region in Colombia. In the same year he came back to Brazil in order to work with vaccines.
In this segment he experienced what he believes to be a link between prescription and products consuming: Concerning the physicians the focus laid on the benefits of the vaccine; concerning the parents the importance of prevention.
He worked as an OTC general manager in Thailand, acting also in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar and The Philippines. As soon as he came back to Brazil, he was invited by Novartis OTC to be in charge of the general management.
During this interview Andrade explains how his experience abroad impacts on the way Novartis OTC acts in the Latin America market.
Top Team - The relationship with physicians in Brazil used to be almost null. After you came into the company it became a standard to be modeled. How could that be done?
This has a lot to do with the features of our products. Many of them had high levels of medical prescription. Keeping such relationship was important as business strategy and that is where we decided to focus on; within this strategy and several partners available, we chose pharmexx Brazil to face such challenge.
Top Team - What has been done in relation to that?
In 2008 we began with medical detailing and samples distribution of anti-Flu drugs. This is something that physicians clearly know: the needs and specifications of the product. We focused on the physicians´ Share of Mind and on bringing them the differences and advantages of this product when compared to the others in the same category, where great part is composed by non-prescribing drugs.
The result was really satisfactory. At first we recovered the prescription amount we used to have some years ago. Next, we became prescription leaders. This year we intend to expand this leadership and consolidate our position as the leading prescription product in this category.
Top Team - Today you are in charge of Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru. What are the main differences found when comparing these markets to the Brazilian one?
The Brazilian market represents nearly 50% of the industry in Latin America. The Brazilian market is great. Numbers here are significantly higher than in the other countries. Right after the Brazilian market comes the Mexican. What we did in the Mercosouth was to gather all this experience with pharmexx Brazil and apply it in Argentina, where we keep our partnership. There our work comprehends nasal dilators and antivaricose drugs.
We used the same program that was used in Brazil and achieved basically the same results.
Top Team - What is the biggest challenge for the countries within this current market?
The Brazilian market is expected to grow significantly, mainly when it comes to economic growth. Over the last four years we were able to achieve more than 10 million new consumers in the category C. People who didn't use to consume our products and that today can afford them. The expansion of the Brazilian market is estimated for 14% within the OTC segment. Such growth is very representative when we focus the rest of the world.
The only problem in Brazil is the regulatory scenario that has become too complex. The hindrance to come into the market makes all the work more difficult. Nowadays, the average time to register a new product is from 12 to 18 months depending on the demands and market features. The new regulations that Anvisa set for OTC products try to regulate with more severe restrictions the possibility of advertising those products and consequently it restricts their purchase.
There are discussions on those norms that may bring more benefits or disadvantages to the population. Those ideas have been spread in other countries, once Brazil has become reference in Latin America.