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Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer

Due South

PMPS: What is your company's role within the South American pharma industry?

Jens Friis:
We are a market leader for pharmaceutical plastic packaging in South America, and a strong player in glass primary packaging and medical devices such as insulin pens. Our strengths are customer orientation, quality and specialisation.

Why are companies so keen to expand into emerging markets?

South America and other emerging markets are very attractive for three reasons. Firstly, their populations are expanding. Secondly, their economies have seen huge growth over the last decade, resulting in better healthcare systems and rising demand for highquality drugs and packaging. Thirdly, international pharma companies expand into emerging markets to provide local supply, manufacturing and filling operations, and then export some of the products to North America or Europe.

What are the benefits of manufacturing products in South America?

Our number one reason for having such a strong manufacturing footprint in South America is to be close to our customers. All the national and international pharma companies appreciate having a local supplier. For example, we established a brand new medical device facility in São Paulo a couple of years ago to supply a major international company with insulin pens made in Brazil.

How does this region differ from other emerging markets such as India or Russia?

The dominant South American pharma market is Brazil. It has an established healthcare system and a good manufacturing infrastructure. Wider public access to medical care is driving improvements in healthcare services that are available to the expanding population, which is supporting overall market growth.

Why not simply import products from Europe or the US?

Local manufacturing and supply operations are a key success factor for pharma suppliers like us. The industry appreciates products that are made locally, with regional experts ensuring they conform to global quality standards. Our customers also expect high service levels and just-intime delivery, which are only possible if we have local manufacturing operations.

Is there anything that might put off companies from investing here?

For us, South America is a safe bet as a future growth market. Nevertheless, political, economic, monetary and legal stability are crucial factors in any investment decision. This region is more volatile than others, so it is important to have a longterm strategic focus and business concept. And vice-versa, South American countries should continue with their efforts to reduce trade barriers and encourage foreign investment.

How do you predict the markets in this region will change in the next decade?


I am very optimistic about the future development of South America because the people here are eager to make progress. A lot of young people have a very good education, and are willing to contribute their energy and expertise. At the same time, most of the countries have vast natural resources supporting long-term sustainable development, and government initiatives in the healthcare sector are providing essential backing.

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Jens Friis is Gerresheimer's Vice President, Americas and Global Business Development Plastic Packaging. He is responsible for Latin and North America, as well as growing the company's Plastic Packaging Business Unit. Jens holds Bachelor of Economics and Master of International Business and Economics degrees.
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