The Business Year

Filipa Mota e Costa

PORTUGAL - Health & Education

Filipa Mota e Costa

Managing Director, Janssen Portugal


Filipa Mota e Costa is Managing Director of the Portuguese subsidiary of Janssen, a pharmaceutical company of the Johnson & Johnson Group. She graduated in chemical engineering from the University of Porto (FEUP) and holds an MBA from INSEAD in France. She started her career at Sonae Indústria and in 2003 joined Janssen Portugal as business development manager. Since then, she has held several positions within the J&J group, namely the Commercial Director in Portugal between 2011 and 2014. Later, she was at Janssen Italy, where she led the new product introduction teams for the Italian market and business development oncology for Europe. She took over as general manager of Janssen Portugal in 2016.

Janssen wants to be the partner of choice in Portugal in terms of advancing value-based healthcare and establishing new concepts of managing healthcare systems.

What role does Portugal play within the European operations of Janssen?

We work for Portuguese patients to gain access to our innovations: This is our first mission. I am pleased that we have been doing so and increasing our reach within Portugal. We have been a successful company in Portugal, not just in terms of broader access for patients, but also developing our local talent and even exporting this local talent. Increasingly, we have a large group of Portuguese talent that start and develop here and are still based here. Almost 30% of our people have regional positions based in Portugal. Over the last two years, this part of our talent development was already strong, and then we experienced remote working and enlarging the scope. Janssen wants to support Portugal and its patients and aims to consolidate its growth in the country, adding value and bringing even more innovation.

How do you establish yourself in such a small and competitive market?

Janssen is an enabler and activator. We do not simply contribute via our scientific knowledge, but also with our broader knowledge on how to advance healthcare and healthcare systems. As in any other market, there are networks and everyone is connected, so it is important to make an impact within the operating country. We want to be partners of choice in terms of medical education, partnering with the system to advance value-based healthcare, and establishing new concepts of managing healthcare and advancing healthcare systems. We need to contribute to an evolving healthcare system in Portugal. We have the skills, competencies, and interest to enable the change. Sharing and instilling knowledge is crucial as well. We are part of a global healthcare company; therefore, we have access to the knowledge of best practices in other countries. We share best practices and positively influence the local system to make it better in the near future. Over the past few years, the dimensions and importance of healthcare to a country’s economy has become clear. We are here in Portugal to accelerate the change.

What should be done to boost the efficiency and performance of the Portuguese healthcare sector?

In pharma, innovation is at the at the heart of what we do. When we talk about innovation, we stick it in two different buckets. One is innovation in terms of therapeutic innovations such as new medicines, treatments, solutions, and increasingly personalized medicines. The challenge is that innovation is developing faster than the regulatory boundaries. The approval process was designed for the therapeutic innovations of the past decades. The time for approval of innovation in Portugal is a challenge; Portugal certainly ranks lower than the average in Europe in terms of patient access to innovation. The other part is innovation in terms of the healthcare system and its operation. Healthcare in Portugal in terms of data management is below what it should be. It needs to upgrade the health system up to the level that other areas in the public system such as finance, internal affairs, and so on that have a high level of digitalization and interoperability.

What is the importance of establishing strategic partnerships with local institutions in the country?Wherever we are in the world, Janssen is committed to impact the local community. So, our priority is to partner with local academia, institutions, other companies, and decision makers. We want to not only make sure that our best knowledge is available, but also that we gain insights from them so that we also can be more efficient. Our priorities are research institutes, academia, mostly in life sciences, and hospitals’ administrations. We are a regulated industry, and the authorities are part of it; we need to have open conversations with the authorities and key decision makers, so that we can help in the necessary transformation of the country, focusing in regard to the health sector.



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