Asia is not a homogeneous generics marketJose Maria A Ochave, Corporate Vice President Business Development & Legal forUnited Laboratories gives us his take on the marketing and distributing generics andbiosimilars in Asia. He also talks about the affordability of biosimilars and tells us whyprice will continue to be a significant factor in the generics market and how companiesmust set themselves apart form the competition to enter the market.Bryan Camoens: What are some of the key challenges in marketing and distributinginnovators alongside generics in Asia?Jose Maria A Ochave : Asia is not a homogeneous market. Market conditions vary fromcountry to country. Hence, a question that seeks to generalize will not result in anymeaningful answer. In any case, from where I stand, the key challenge for anypharmaceutical company now is price as more products become commoditized. Thisbecomes more acute when companies with non-cGMP facilities are allowed to enter themarket.Bryan Camoens: With the emerging trend of biosimilars, how will the dynamics of thepharmaceutical market be affected?Jose Maria A Ochave : Its an emerging trend elsewhere, but not yet in the Philippines assourcing of biosimilars and patients capacity to pay continue to prevent the creation of arobust biosimilar market. There has been much discussion regarding biosimilars, but untilsuch time that the affordability issue in developing countries is addressed, it will simply bean interesting topic in conferences.Bryan Camoens: What are the key market access barriers for generics within Asia?Jose Maria A Ochave : Primarily product registration, this despite the on-goingharmonization efforts. With a few exceptions, the reality is each country still seeks toprotect its own domestic companies due to legitimate policy concerns (e.g., drug security,technology transfer, employment).Bryan Camoens: What are the challenges and difficulties in marketing generic products inAsia?Jose Maria A Ochave : The proliferation of substandard generics as this undermines thecredibility of the entire generics industry.Bryan Camoens: How do prescribers differentiate among the various generic optionsavailable in the market?Jose Maria A Ochave : They still prescribe products of companies who detail to them.Hence, presence in the doctors clinic is still important.
Bryan Camoens: How unique is the positioning of generics companies in Asia and how canthey withstand competition from Big Pharma?Jose Maria A Ochave : Its still price and relationship marketing. If Big Pharma goes downto the generics price point using their existing brands, then that will pose some difficultiesfor the generics companies. However, if they launch their generics through anothercompany, it will take a while for them to establish themselves in the market and genericcompanies will have the opportunity to stunt their growth by leveraging on their existingrelationships.Bryan Camoens: Asias exports - what can companies do to ensure the quality and safety ofgenerics?Jose Maria A Ochave : Its still the good, old cGMP and quality assurance and controlprograms. There is no shortcut.Bryan Camoens: With regards to biosimilars and pharmacovigilance, what are the keyconsiderations for companies and how can we overcome them?Jose Maria A Ochave : The key considerations are a good, dependable source of thebiosimilars and compliance with registration requirements, especially as regards theclinical trial requirement. The fact that one cannot adopt the same pricing strategy as withtraditional pharmaceuticals resulting in narrower margins is also an issue. The businessmodel for traditional pharmaceuticals will not work with biosimilars. A new business modelwill have to be crafted and it will take a lot mistakes before one can come up with one thatworks. Hence, not all pharmaceutical companies will have the required financial resourcesand competence to be successful in biosimilars.Bryan Camoens: How will the generics industry continue to evolve with more patentsexpiring in the next few years?Jose Maria A Ochave : While price will continue to be a significant factor, the genericcompanies will have to find other ways to differentiate themselves from competition asmore companies enter the market. Success will come to those who are able to engage thevarious customers creatively and more effectively. Companies will also need to redefinewho their real customers are._______________________________________________________________________Jose Maria A Ochave will be speaking at the Generics & Biosimilars Asia conference formore details please visit www.genericsbiosimilarsasia.com or drop an email firstname.lastname@example.org