Top Pharmaceuticals are losing the battle in Emerging Markets and are generating an important slow-down effect in the market. Between 2012 to 2014 many big pharmaceuticals achieved their goal to bring at least 30% of revenues from the so called Pharmergings but, according to published data, the general outcomes of this "pharma" colonization has been quite surprising.
As discussed in a previous post, since big players are more present in Emerging Markets, market growth has been consistently decreasing until fell below the average in 2014 for first time in decades. If we compare 2014 revenues of traditionally global players with "pharmerging" local/regional companies, the laters still remain growing above the market average when assessed alone.
A key element that could partly explain why the big pharmaceuticals are less competitive in a highly uncertain environment is the difficulty they find to be flexible when they face a scenario they can’t control as they are used to do. Lack of reliable information, complicated and changing legislation, unexpected political-economical movements and, overall, the need they have of short term results to avoid unaffordable internal pressure. General Management reacts to underperforming results increasing pressure over local Emerging Markets management and they cascade to their subordinates. In some regions, Asia in particular, increase of pressure above a certain level is counterproductive.
It is not just a matter of pressure, but also about "failure culture". In big organizations, and pharmaceuticals are not different than others, success is unavoidably linked with a good performance…at least that is what most managers think. In a more or less controlled environment, it might be right, although luck is also behind some of the most notorious “success” stories, but when the number of uncontrollable variables increases some folds, as it happens in Developing Markets, focus should be on strategy and execution and much less in cases of eventual success.
What about managers? Management capabilities are same to succeed in Emerging Markets as they are in Developed ones? This is an open question.
Based on our experience, some skills are common to any other project on modern business structures: leadership capabilities are mandatory, with special emphasis on outstanding communication skills and of course integrity and managerial attitudes.
However, there are some specific elements we summarize below:
Controlled risk taking capacity (or should we say entrepreneurial spirit?)
Capacity to work with a high level of autonomy
Strong respect for other cultures and different problem approaches (open minded)
Strong team worker (most of achievements will not be individual)
Coaching and motivational (moving people, resources, getting commitment)
Enthusiasm and strong commercial capabilities (most of the time the job will be an exercise of breaking internal and external resistance to change)
Stress controlling (one of the things that more increases level of stress is lack of available/reliable/manageable information, what will be the usual scenario)
It can be said that there is a lack of professionals prepared for developing successful projects in emerging markets. Recently some important business schools have detected the need of specific training in risk management and working effectively in highly uncertain scenarios, but the issue is far to be solved. Until now companies are using young professionals and people from local teams to fill the gap, although they are every day more aware about the need to get specifically prepared professionals.