Addressing Covid-19 for your business means to be part of the solution!

Seven tips to consider for International OTC, Pharma, and Medical Device Leaders.

Many of our clients are wondering how to best tackle business in LATAM, Asia, Europe, US/Canada and CIS/CEE in light of the current Covid-19 crisis, and what topics to address first.

Seven tips to consider for International OTC, Pharma, and Medical Device Leaders.

In the following, we have put together some thoughts for OTC, Pharma, and Medical Device Leaders for overcoming the Covid-19 crisis. The article might support you to reflect on your current business model and to be better prepared for any future crisis to come. Moreover the current situation opens some quick additional sales opportunities in countries like Russia as you can read in our separate Russia article from today on our WEB page.

  1. Keep your international partners and teams abroad updated.
    Regular updates are the key to success with your local partners or subsidiaries in different countries. Try to find the best fitting channel of communication in which people can also ask questions. Although everyone understands and follows the news on the Covid-19, give people open and frequent updates on the situation on your joint business. It is also important to find some positive aspects to report, even if they are small. This gives your partners in other countries the understanding that you value your relationship with them and are trying to make the best out of the situation.

  2. Ensure the supply chain by all means.
    The delivery of goods is essential in these times. Find creative solutions for your supply chain. Try inviting your partners in other countries to explore alternative delivery options. For example, consider dividing bigger deliveries into 2-3 parts, because there might be delays with deliveries as well as cancellations or losses.  

  3. Have a clear vision to overcome the crisis.
    Most important for OTC, Pharma and Medical Device Leaders to overcome Covid-19 crisis is to have a clear and confident vision. With a positive mindset and attitude, leaders will inspire others to overcome any challenges.
    In some countries, the situation is better than in others. Learn from how Singaporean, Chinese and South Korean business leaders managed the situation. A clear vision inspires people to take part and fight for a common goal. Be realistic but positive and come up with a plan that your team and your international partner companies will buy-in. To start now, working on relevant future topics will bring your business a clear strategic advantage over our competition. The important future topics you can start right now may include:
    • Systematically analyze the country and product potential as well as the market entry time and cost for your products to enter new region after the crisis e.g. in Latin America, CIS/CEE, Europe, US or Asia.  
    • Start to conduct necessary product registration or GMP certificates for entering new international countries after the crisis. Any product registration could be easily pushed forward via electric processes, no travel is necessary.
    • Identify new local partner companies for your products to enter in new countries. Companies have more time now to talk to you and would always listen to good future cooperation offers for the end of 2020.
    • Systematically identify and analyze interesting acquisition targets of products, companies

Figure: Seven tips to consider for International OTC, Pharma, and Medical Device Business with regards to COVID-19
Source: Chameleon Pharma Consulting
  • 4. Consider possible weaknesses in your business model. Did we ever expect the Covid-19 crisis to reach to our international healthcare business? At the same time, nature is giving us even more challenges in the future – e.g. rising water levels, which is forcing the capital city of Indonesia to move to a different island. Could we even imagine all these problems 4-5 years ago? Having this in mind, international Pharma and Consumer Health Leaders should understand that the Covid-19 crisis is not going to be the last challenge for their business. Therefore, we should think now about how we can adjust our business model to have fewer impacts from future crises. Some suggestions from our side:  
    – Do not depend too much on your home market – establish min. 70% of your sales in different regions of the world. This would make your business more crisis resistant.   
    – Establish your international business in at least 15-20 countries within two, or better, three continents. This diversification would further support you in any financial dilemma.
    Diversify your indications! Being specialized in one indication might bring you a great business in good times. However, this is risky as well. You might want to think about different indications to focus on. E.g., focusing on Women´s health might allow you to easily understand and develop a sizeable business in the pediatric space.

    5. Be flexible and respond quickly.
    Regularly update yourself on changes in different countries. Any crisis requires flexible solutions. It is amazing to see how people can come together in emergencies – look how only in a few days an operational hospital was built in China. Moreover, others made it possible to transform exhibition halls into hospitals in Spain, Austria, Italy and Germany.
    International OTC, Pharma and Medical Device Leaders need to think in the same dimensions and be flexible enough to find creative solutions and be able to respond quickly even when working from home.

    6. Digitalize your business.  
    The current Covid-19 crisis is pushing OTC, Pharma, and Medical Device Leaders to quickly adapt digital processes and use online meeting platforms in a frequency they have never done before. Moreover, many companies have switched from office work to home offices. Often, this is the first time for companies to have such an experience. It may be a good time to think about the future and digitalize your business.

    7. Adapt to changes for doing business after Covid-19.
    Many processes and business models have been pushed to online models during the last few weeks. In Russia, e.g. the sale of OTC drugs was not allowed despite many attempts to convince the government to grant permission. Just this week the president Mr. Vladimir Putin suddenly agreed to legalize the sale of Consumer Healthcare drugs online in Russia. Experts assume the push came from the Covid-19 situation.
    New ways and possibilities of making business will not retreat after Covid-19. The world will be slightly different after the current crisis, and OTC and Pharma Managers should keep this in mind. Maybe smaller and more flexible local partners in some countries with online platforms are now becoming a better choice rather than slower adapting Pharma Multinationals.

Whatever your current questions are, it would be great to support you with our expert know-how. Just give us a call or send us an e-mail, we are here to help.