Tetiana Pechaeva, CEO of the Lekhim group of companies, told why health care reform could fail
Lekhim, group of pharmaceutical companies, this year celebrates the 25th anniversary on the Ukrainian market. Today Lekhim includes two enterprises- PJSC Technolog and JSC Lekhim-Kharkiv. Despite the small workforce (over 800 people), the company is a large taxpayer in the country.
Strategic management is conducted from the central office in Kyiv, where all the affairs of the company are managed in light woman`s hands of Tetiana Pechaeva. In business she values collaborative work and dedication. These values have helped several generations of managers to prevent the crisis from overcoming.
In the interview with LDaily Tetiana Pechaeva, CEO of the Lekhim group of companies, talked about the need for establishing the partnership between the state and the pharmaceutical sector.
LDaily: Tetiana, you have been working in pharmaceutical business for over 20 years. Pharmaceutical enterprises are one of the first who feel the market fluctuations. How did the growth of pharmaceutical industry after the next crisis affect the Lekhim enterprise?
T. Pechaeva: The economic situation in 2015-2016 was difficult for both: the country and the pharmaceutical sector. Few of them could boast of the positively growing indicators. Despite the fact that the market grew to 15%, there was a fall in real terms, and the increase if hryvnia equivalent actually only covered the exchange rate difference. The economic and political crisis had a bad impact on selling and realization of foreign products, but almost all of them managed to survive and not to withdraw from our market.
Nevertheless, the period of 2015-2016 was positive for Lekhim, because we managed to increase our market share by the results of our activity. The volume of sales also increased, both in hryvnia and in real terms. Due to the increased export we managed to save a stable growth dynamic. Unfortunately, the first quarter of 2017 turned out to be difficult for our company, but we hope to complete this year with positive results.
LDaily: Do top managers of the companies wait for help from the state in development of pharmaceutical business in Ukraine?
T. Pechaeva: Domestic industry has always worked on the principle: “We will do everything necessary for the development of the pharmaceutical sector in our country, we do not ask for the additional preferences and privileges, we ask not to interfere”. After all constant changes in legislation, and consequently new rules do not allow the companies to set long-term goals. This helps to increase the level of business dissatisfaction with the authorities.
However, we fully support reforms implemented by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, including the initiative of insurance medicine. Because, in right approach, it is aimed to improve the country’s economic well-being and to increase the quality of medical services for patients. We also need to understand that today the whole health care system is in dire need of reforms.
LDaily: In your opinion, do frequent changes in legislation negatively affect the investment attractiveness of Ukraine?
T. Pechaeva: It is worth saying that the Ukrainian market is attractive to foreign companies that periodically analyze the possibility of business investment. However, the political crisis and unstable economic situation do not contribute to an increase of the number of potential investors. How can we work in a country where the rules of the game change every day and business does not feel protected? This strongly pushes away from Ukraine, and people are simply afraid to make large investments in the country.
We should not also forget that anti-corruption reform has not been fully implemented for today.
LDaily: Before you said the Lekhim company had saved its position in the market due to export of medicines. Tell us, which countries do you sell your products to?
T. Pechaeva: Ukrainian products are competitive and in demand in many countries and regions, for example, such as Africa and Asia. For today, one of the main tasks, which Lekhim puts forward is entering the European market. To do this, we need to obtain a European GMP certificate as a proof of production quality.
Unfortunately, there is no mutual recognition of the Ukrainian GMP certificate at the moment, although it meets all international and European standards, which, of course, confirms the high quality of medicines produces in Ukraine.
LDaily: Can we affirm that there is no counterfeiting in Ukraine?
T. Pechaeva: Falsified medicines are everywhere, even in the European and US markets, as it is considered one of the most profitable, though illegal, businesses. This is a global problem that the whole world is struggling with, including Ukraine.
Our legislation stipulates criminal liability for the manufacture of counterfeit medicines. The most important method of combating this disease is to expose such companies and prevent the withdrawal of their counterfeit medicines into the market.
LDaily: Do you thing the Ukrainian authorities will be able to reform the health care system?
T. Pechaeva: I believe that this reform plays an important role in the medical services quality improvement. But for its successful implementation, it is necessary first of all to build the right dialogue between all parties involved in the reform process implementation, to create optimal conditions for adaptation. It is necessary to take into account the experience with the introduction of the concept of a “family doctor” from January 1, 2016. Doctors and patients have not been given enough information about the change in the doctor’s and medical institutions’ work, and in the system in general. Our government, deputies, the Ministry of Health have to demonstrate political will and prepare a fertile ground for the successful implementation of the medical reform strategy in 2017-2018, and as a domestic producer, we will make all necessary efforts to support innovations that might improve the health of the population and the quality of medical services provided by the state. And this is a priority task for all of us.