Pharma firm eyes African mark: “We want to bring disparate and entrenched parties together to create solutions for the betterment of South African healthcare.”
Please introduce eyeforpharma.
eyeforpharma is an organization famous for brokering pharma government meetings across continents.Our mission is to make pharma more open and valued. We do this not by working with individual pharma companies, but by bringing the industry together to hear and see the very best work being done, and to find new partnerships. This will raise the bar for everyone.
In which industries does eyeforpharma operate and who are its clients?
We operate all over the world, though we are now operating in Africa for the first time, which is exciting. Our customers are almost exclusively pharmaceutical executives and other stakeholders who can advance pharma in getting the medicines/services to those who need them. Like all of us, however, our ultimate customer is the patient.
eyeforpharma is organizing its first conference in Africa in March 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa. What is the objective of this conference?
Constructive collaboration! Above all else, we want to bring disparate and entrenched parties together to create solutions for the betterment of South African healthcare. Our research confirmed that the lack of communication and alignment between stakeholders has reached unprecedented levels, at a time when other countries are harmonizing and partnering for mutual benefit.
We go where our services are required. In 2014 and 2015 we received a surge of requests from local pharmaceutical executives who saw what we were doing in other parts of the world and recognized that an independent group like eyeforpharma could bring the parties together on neutral territory. We spoke to around 100 individuals to fine-tune the agenda and focus for the event: it became clear that all parties wanted to talk and make progress but felt unable to do so.
Why is this a good time to move into the African Market?
Because Africa has asked us to come. We are not here for economic or political reasons.
Is South Africa a possible entry point into the African Market, or are there other countries of interest?
At the moment, we are focused only on South Africa because that is where we have seen the demand. We are, however, very open-minded about going elsewhere.
What, in your opinion, can be done by entrepreneurs and governments to improve the health sector in Africa?
The public and private sector need to work together if we are to have a sustainable healthcare system. With high unemployment putting a strain on public healthcare finances, with fewer contributors to national health insurance, the private sector is required to step in – as long as it can be done in an honest, trustworthy and constructive way. I believe pharmaceutical managers are generally smart enough to prioritize public health for their own long-term business prospects in the region, and therefore that solutions are possible. It starts with good dialogue and a concrete plan. We can help with that.
What can you say about the targets, plans and ambitions of eyeforpharma in 2016?
While we are a commercial organization, our reason for existence is to advance the pharmaceutical industry. Therefore I would personally like to see the industry become more trusted and valued by others, such that it becomes an important-decision maker in the future of local healthcare. Pharma companies still have so much unused expertise and untapped potential.