Ricardo Vian Marques, General Manager at Galenika a.d. Belgrade

Tuesday, 17. Nov 2020.

Ricardo Vian Marques took the position of General Manager of Galenika a.d. Belgrade at the beginning of the year, and a challenging period awaited him at the very start. In his interview for eKapija, he points out that no one was fully ready for what 2020 presented. However, having the highest safety standards in place in Galenika, he says, gave them a head start and they managed to secure the people and processes, even introduce innovations in their business.

We talked to Vian Marques about this years business results, the challenges that the pharmaceutical industry has faced, the innovations and the expansion of the product portfolio, as well as the companys plans for the upcoming period.

– Crisis management which we began practicing this year is likely to be a constant for some time. I came to Serbia in late 2017. Prior to taking the role of the GM, I was appointed Executive Director for Operational Affairs at Galenika for two years, which gave me sufficient time to get to know the company and the market by taking an active part in the changes after the privatization.

eKapija: Behind us is a challenging year for business in all spheres, but above all in medicine and pharmacy. What was the biggest challenge for the business of Galenika a.d. Belgrade and how did you overcome it?

– At Galenika, the pandemic inspired us to reconfirm our commitment to the market and priorities in doing business. And our priority number one are the people - consumers and patients, doctors and pharmacists and all of our employees and partners. Having secured people and processes we knew that we had to do our best in what we do best, despite the circumstances, not only to maintain the market position, but to generate innovations and additional value to everyone in the chain.

I can say with a lot of pride that our team proved their strength and dedication in the hardest of times this year. As a direct result of our dedicated work, Galenika records constant growth in all segments of its business.

eKapija: What are the business results of the company Galenika a.d. Belgrade in the previous period?

– During the first wave of pandemic the banning of export of medicines has surely affected the results in H1, but we are recovering in H2 by implementing new marketing actions.

It is a tough year but the team is motivated and literally lives the mission of guarding health. It reflects in the business results: in the first eight months of 2020, we achieved an increase in sales in Serbia by nearly 10% compared to the same period in 2019, which is more than the market grew for the same period, and it additionally strengthened our position in the Serbian pharmaceutical market.

I am sure that our results would be even better had it not been of the pandemic. But the reality is that we will have to find a way to live and do business both with, and without Covid-19, in an innovative and responsible manner.

eKapija: How satisfied are you with sales in the region and in international markets?

– I have to say that under the circumstances this year, I am very content of the results so far. Our regional presence is growing and it is a direct result of the changing course in its business strategy and vision. We have sales growth in the region in the first half of 2020 (Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Macedonia) by 14%. Three new export markets have been opened this year, while Galenika is actively present in 8 international markets in the EU, the Middle East and Africa, where it has increased its sales more than double. An important step for us was the foundation of Galenika International in Hungary – the office which will represent our hub for the EU markets.
eKapija: It has been announced that Galenika will be the holder of licenses for its products on the territory of the EU from 2020. Has this been achieved and what are the benefits?

– In October we received the first market authorization in the name of Galenika, i.e. Galenika International Kft as our subsidiary in EU. Already in November we expect the second one for another medicine. There are several other regulatory procedures in 3 EU countries all expected to be finalized in H1 2021. This is a great starting point that will enable Galenika further expansion in EU markets. We expect to start selling our products in EU in 2021.

eKapija: Have you expanded your product portfolio or is something like that planned?

– Absolutely yes. Portfolio expansion is strategically important as we want to keep the highest quality standards and at the same time offer new products important for the patients, consumers and professional public. With a strategic partnership with the sister company from Brazil - EMS, Galenikas Institute for Research and Development continues to develop new products. Since our acquisition at the end of 2017, Galenika registered 17 new products, which significantly expanded our portfolio and offer. The registration of 12 new products is in progress, and by the end of the year, 4 new products are expected to be released in the market.

eKapija: What innovations have been realized in the previous period?

– The trust that people have in Galenika and its quality is something that inspires us every day. In order to maintain and even grow this trust in quality, we have introduced innovations through investments in the new production, quality and business standards, our employees and people development, portfolio growth, environment protection and sustainability, digital transformation and Industry 4.0 with Smart Manufacturing and Internet of Things in production, as well as corporate relations and product campaigns.

Best proof of the impact of these innovations is that in 2018 when we completed the acquisition, Galenika was the 4th company based on pharma market share in Serbia, and as of 2019, Galenika holds a steady 2nd position which is a tremendous success. In addition, Galenika is growing faster than the market which additionally strengthened our position.
eKapija: A significant segment of Galenikas business is occupied by socially responsible business, and a humanitarian pink action was recently launched on the occasion of the month of the fight against breast cancer. Are there any other projects planned?

– The project „Pink October“ was our way to contribute to the Brest Cancer Awareness Month. Our efforts included carefully planned internal activities and very dynamic external activations especially in social media with our brand Pantenol about this illness, its prevention, importance of examinations and early diagnosis which are the key to recovery. In the end, we have made a considerable donation for the national Institute for Oncology and Radiology of Serbia and improvement of conditions for the treatment of patients.

I would like to highlight one more thing: prevention topic is high on our agenda. It is, too an innovation that proves our mission of guarding health. Largest number of chronic diseases among the younger population is the result of bad life habits and lack of healthy lifestyle. Our students-focused research in Serbia in 2020 confirms it. We want Galenika to contribute to raising awareness of the importance of prevention and building and nurturing healthy habits of young people as a basis for quality life, today and in the years to come. That is why we have launched a nation-wide „HELLO TWENTIES“ platform ( and an e-Guide to healthy habits and expert advice in seven areas which the research shown was most relevant for this age group, namely: diet, physical activity, mental health, contraception, addictions, hormones and allergies. The e-Guide is titled „How to find balance and maintain health" and can be downloaded by visiting our online platform. We see this project as an opportunity to work together with a joint purpose, inspire broad collaboration and powerful force for positive change to help people live healthier lives.

eKapija: What are the companys plans for 2021? Are there new business investments or innovations planned?

– I do not expect 2021 to be any easier, because the consequences from this year are likely to be felt in all market segments and industries. We all need to find a way to achieve business success and demonstrate responsibility. Our goal is to generate value and fuel positive changes through investments, innovations and support to all stakeholders. This includes ambitious business plans and strong support to the markets we operate in.

Our strategic goal is development of Galenika, yet we do not exclude the possibility of additional expansion through acquisition. We are working to further increase production and sales in the Serbian and international markets, explore innovative ways to promote our existing products and are committed to significant portfolio growth by registering and launching new products every year.

As you can see, the team is highly motivated and Galenika is in a place where a lot of things are coming together and happening at the same time. And our plan is to keep this dynamic as long-term.

Ivana Milovanovic

Source: eKapija

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