Mexico is a country with a rapidly growing pharmaceutical industry and at Envirotainer we have witnessed significant changes in the market over the past decade. With the rise of complex and sensitive medicines and vaccines, it has become essential for manufacturers to have a reliable packaging solution, supported by agile operational capabilities to ensure the safety and efficacy of the medicines shipped.
One of the most significant changes in the market has been the growing popularity of generic drugs. In recent years, the Mexican government has also taken steps to make it easier for generic drug manufacturers to enter the market. This has led to a greater variety of generic drugs being available to patients, which has in turn helped to drive down prices.
The growing popularity of generic drugs in Mexico is a positive development for patients - by providing a more affordable and accessible option for medication, generic drugs are helping to ensure that more people in Mexico can continue to receive the medical care they need.
Despite the positive changes, the pharmaceutical market in Mexico still faces several challenges. One of the biggest challenges is the prevalence of counterfeit drugs. According to the World Health Organization, as many as 10% of drugs sold in developing countries may be counterfeit. This is a significant problem in Mexico, where the sale of counterfeit drugs is common. These drugs can be dangerous to patients, as they may not contain the proper ingredients or may be contaminated. This is why when shipping high-value pharmaceuticals, a secure packaging solution is extremely important to protect the end patient.
As we reflect on the last decade in Mexico, we spoke to three people from Envirotainer who know the market the best to see from their perspective how things have changed in the last 10 years. Let’s see what Ernest Murphy, Head of Operations Americas; Brian Cooper, Head of Sales Americas and Rosabel Calderon, Strategic Account Manager had to say:
Tell me about the market in Mexico, what are the challenges, how has the market evolved over the past 10 years and how has Envirotainer evolved with it?
Ernest: We have found that southern border crossings US>MEX and MEX>US is a specific challenge to the MEX region. Regulations are always changing which means that we must always keep up with the regulations and adapt with them.
Brian: From my experience, it’s all about education. We have worked extensively with customers and partners in the region to help them to understand the benefits of Envirotainer active ULD’s to protect the stability of pharmaceutical products during transport.
We’ve also worked hard to educate the ground handling teams by training through the Envirotainer Academy – not only about Envirotainer, but also about temperature-controlled air freight (TCAF) in general and the importance of quality in the transportation of pharma products to protect the end patient.
Rosabel: From my perspective, when we first started servicing MEX as an inventory point, forwarders and airlines were only offering passive solutions to customers and active solutions was not really in their minds as an option. Now, 10 years later, forwarders have a much better understanding of the temperature requirements for the products that they are transporting, and the benefits of an active solution. Now, we find that they are much more confident discussing the benefits of active solutions and are happy to be able to offer this solution to the pharma manufacturers.
We have the 10-year anniversary of Envirotainer having an operation in MEX in 2023 – what are some of the big milestones that have taken place during that time?
Ernest: Back in 2013, we predominately saw the use of our t container (dry ice) solution. We’ve seen a big shift over the last 10 years so that now most of our shipments and inventory is the e container solution (RKN and RAP) which is our electric heating/cooling system. We’ve also seen strong growth in the numbers of trips both coming into and out of MEX as our customers in the region understand more about active packaging solutions and the benefits they bring.
Brian: A big milestone for us was establishing a local ground handling agent and service partner in ULD Services MEX. There is huge value in partnering with an organization that understands the local TCAF market and is an extension of Envirotainer’s Core Values.
We have also been able to demonstrate the importance of partnership across the different sales channels and forming strong professional and personal local relationships with Pharma Companies, Forwarders, and Airlines.
Rosabel: Mexico was one of the countries that was approved for the manufacture and distribution of the Covid19 vaccine for Latin America. We were proud to play our part in supporting the distribution of the vaccine in Latin America.
Brian mentioned our service partner ULD Services, what can you all tell us about the team at ULD Services in MEX and how they help us to support the region?
Ernest: The team is truly part of the Envirotainer family, they are our face to the market, and they represent and carry themselves as part of the family. They also provide several value-added services that allow us to effectively import and export our containers and enable our commercial growth and operational capabilities in the region.
Brian: ULD Services MEX and Alberto’s staff are such wonderful people, we have gotten to know so many of them and their families over the years. Their hard work is a huge piece in the puzzle so that we can effectively support the region.
Rosabel: They have been a fundamental partner since we opened the station in Mexico back in 2013 and have supported us ever since. The ULD Services MEX team have always gone the extra mile to assist our customers and deliver outstanding service.
So what is next for Envirotainer in Mexico?
Ernest: Our next focus is on training our customers and partners on understanding more about, and adopting, our new products in the MEX market – the Releye® ULD family and CryoSure® solutions. This will allow us to bring to the region our next generation of service delivery.
Brian: We’re also focusing on expanding our value-added services and operational capabilities even further. We want to continue to offer our local and global expertise, along with ULD Services MEX to support our local customers as we continue to grow the TCAF market for pharma companies - from manufacturing to final distribution.
Rosabel: I’m very focused on continuing to strengthen the relationships that we already have with pharma companies, forwarders and airlines in the region, continuing to educate the market and to build understanding of the knowledge that we have as real advisors to the temperature-controlled pharmaceutical industry.
For my last question, you’ve all spent time in Mexico while you’ve been out visiting our station and customers – what’s your favourite thing about Mexico?
Ernest: For me, it’s the people, the culture and the FOOD
Brian: I love the energy and how vibrant Mexico City is every time I visit. I enjoy the neighbourhoods and have had some of the best meals in the world courtesy of Alberto and his love of food-culture-experiences.
Our customers in Mexico have always been so welcoming and warm; they embraced ULD Services MEX and Envirotainer the day we opened our operations and commercial representation.
Rosabel: I have to say the empathy and kindness of the people in Mexico always stands out to me every time I visit.
We are proud and honoured that so many customers continue to work with us after 10 years in the market and as we look back and see just how far Envirotainer, ULD Services MEX, and our customers have come in support of Pharma TCAF and the patients we all serve.
As the pharmaceutical market in Mexico continues to evolve, Envirotainer is looking forward to continuing to play our part in driving the growth of the region. While there are still challenges to be addressed, the overall trend in Mexico's pharmaceutical market is one of progress and improvement. By continuing to address these challenges, we can all work together to ensure that patients have access to safe and effective healthcare.
Do you want to know more about our operational services in MEX and how we can work with you to support your shipments? Contact our local sales representative Rosabel Calderon.