The original article delves into meeting the needs in emerging healthcare markets. As more global citizens seek healthcare options with guidance from their doctor or pharmacist, they want to exercise the newfound power to choose products that improve their health more effectively.
“Most people in emerging markets pay for prescription medications out of pocket, and that leads to more consumer choice,” says Andrew Lane, executive vice president of the Established Pharmaceuticals Division at global healthcare company Abbott. “They not only want affordable high-quality medicines for their families, but increasingly they want improved medicine or new solutions that make the experience of taking medicine better.”
Abbott has the only multinational pharmaceutical business operating solely in emerging markets with presence and scale in a number of key regions. With 30,000 employees in more than 100 countries, Abbott’s medicines business is already among the top-10 pharmaceutical entities in Latin America, and it occupies number-one positions in Chile, Colombia and Peru. Other multinational companies operate in the branded generics space, but Abbott is among the leaders with a collection of more than 1,500 well-known medicines.
Innovation as Differentiator
Abbot isn’t content on relying on its trusted name in the market as an obvious advantage.
“We regularly talk to doctors and patients to understand their needs, and what would make medicine better for them,” says Lane. “We take these insights and look at a variety of ways to improve medicine, everything from improving the product or packaging to offering services that help people remember to take their medicine.”
Abbott has a truly unique approach among multinational companies and is creating innovations that can include new formulations that make medicines easier to take such as offering injectable medication, new packaging, and new indications for additional health conditions.
For example, Abbott uses a technology called CleverCap in Colombia. This fits on a standard pill bottle, alerts the patient to take medication and then dispenses the prescribed dose. This innovation in packaging also offers internet connectivity to help doctors monitor patient compliance.
Abbott’s ability to mix global-scale efficiencies with a strong local presence also positions the company for long-term success. The critical need to customize products for each market — with differences in health and disease prevalence, culture, diet, climate, education and taste choices, and varying preferences for how medications are taken — compels rapid innovation, ensures a steady stream of new products and allows swift time-to-market.