CEO & General General, Laboratorios Zepol
Laboratorios Zepol is a family company and still 100% Costa Rican owned. This is important to the way we have done business over the years since my grandfather opened his pharmacy in 1936. During this time, there was a shortage of medicine, and people sought natural remedies. This is how his product, Zepol Topical Balsamic Ointment, became popular. In 1950, he founded this company. My father became the general manager 30 years later with a modern leadership vision that has driven us to where we are today. He began exporting and globalizing our company and our products. The standardization of quality was important to him. A few years later, we made a huge investment in our production plant with clean rooms that met international quality standards, which was an innovative move for us and for Costa Rica. We were, at the time, the only pharmaceutical company with the ISO-9001 certification in Central America. It was an important step for us, but it was just the beginning.
Country Manager, Pfizer Central America & Caribbean
In 2013, Pfizer chose Costa Rica to set up its financial services center aimed at centralizing and standardizing processes for the different markets where Pfizer operates. Thanks to local talent, the operation of this center expanded in 2016 and its current team of 250 colleagues serves 29 territories in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, as well as the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, and 18 European markets. Costa Rica is an important country for Pfizer’s regional operations, because from here we manage our operations for the entire Central American and Caribbean region. These operations include marketing, finance, human resources, regulatory affairs, corporate affairs, and medical, among others. We are proud of the activities and initiatives that we carry out in Costa Rica. They complement our business operations to enhance the healthcare system, increase access to our medicines, and find sustainable solutions to current and future healthcare challenges.
General Manager, Rodrigo Salas
Before we founded Farmanova, I used to work as an international executive for Pfizer and later decided to start a new development in pharmaceuticals. At that time, the distribution and wholesaling of pharmaceuticals in Costa Rica was in the hands of three large companies. Therefore, we started Farmanova, which had to be fed with co-distributions as opposed to exclusive distributions. We represented a new strategy by dividing one exclusive distribution into two. We started as co-distributers of main international companies; it was a successful new approach that the market was happy with. This meant new opportunities for credit and price competition, which made for a more dynamic and growing market. We later saw how the generic market was emerging and decided to create a new platform called Intermed, oriented to the development of the generic market and over-the-counter (OTC) products. We realized some of those companies were not only involved in the human market but also in the animal health veterinary market and decided to initiate a new business in animal health called Copeco.
We set up the business with the idea of Central America and Panama as a whole; however, when we started in Costa Rica, we stayed here because there is transparency when dealing with the government, which at the time was not the case in other Central American countries. The exception was Panama, though it later came up with regulations that were counterproductive to our work. We have sold to Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Panama in the past; now, we are concentrating on going back out again. At this point, we will probably enter Nicaragua and Honduras first. In Costa Rica, the largest purchaser of pharmaceutical products is Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS). In other countries, the private market is mostly larger than the public market. The coverage in Costa Rica with CCSS is much more extensive than the coverage in other countries. Medication and healthcare are guaranteed by the Costa Rican constitution. Even visitors who are injured are covered under CCSS, which is not the case in other countries.
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