A leader in Greece’s pharmaceuticals industry, Rafram made a concerted decision to specialize by investing heavily in ophthalmology. Aris Mitsopoulos, Vice President of Rafarm, declares that a new production facility has helped to boost their exports to new thresholds.
How long has Rafarm been in business and what niches do you serve?
Rafarm has been in the business of pharmaceuticals for more than 45 years, having started as an ophthalmic drugs company. From the beginning, we were vertically intergraded, employing our own R&D, production and commercial arms. Today, we have clear competitive advantages in ophthalmology and injectable nephrology products. Business is strong because we were able to weather the crisis and have therefore enjoyed continuous growth over the last decade.
Why did the company choose ophthalmology as a specialization?
The ophthalmic market is a niche and challenging market with many barriers to entry, especially in terms of technology. It is significantly more expensive to build a suitable sterile manufacturing facility compared to a solid dose facility. Furthermore, the products are challenging in terms of development and related clinical activity also makes the overall investment substantially bigger compared with other forms. For reasons mentioned above, as well as building on our long and growing expertise in the area, we have considered ophthalmology as a primary area for investment.
What dividends has your approach to R&D created?
We have recently upgraded our production facilities whilst supporting the expansion with a strong R&D arm. We have capitalized on this investment, and today Rafarm has more than tripled its exporting activities compared to three years ago; this year, our exports have grown at a rate of around 55 to 60 percent. Rafarm exports pharmaceutical products to Europe, Middle East, North Africa, Asia, Central America and more recently to Australia and Canada.
What is your current plan for exporting to France?
France is Europe’s second biggest market in ophthalmology products. We already have existing business with major French companies for two of our products. In addition, we are in the process of registering six further products with the French authorities and, once registered, our presence in the French market will significantly increase.