“My colleagues often hear me say: Let’s do something different. Let’s do something that really matters to patients and to our partners,” says Mr. Christian Malherbe, the new Country Manager of Pfizer Thailand.
Mr. Malherbe joined Pfizer more than 13 years ago as a sales representative at Pfizer Denmark. Before moving to Thailand, he spent almost 5 years living and working in Dubai as Regional Director of Operations and Strategy for the Africa and Middle East region. One of most interesting experiences for him was managing Pfizer business for the area called ‘Levant’ which covers four countries – Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.
With his extensive experience in the business, he is keen to merge his insight with local knowledge.
“Obviously, I don’t know much about the Thai market yet but I know a lot about the pharmaceutical business and about adding value to patients. I have a great team with experience to support me and, hopefully, I can add to the picture a new and different way of doing business both internally and externally,” says Mr. Malherbe.
“In the current business environment, you have to be very innovative in order to have that competitive edge,” adds Mr. Malherbe.
Pfizer Inc., the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company established in 1849, is headquartered in New York with major research and development locations in the United States. The company has invented and offered hundreds of medicines to millions of patients around the globe. During the past decade, Viagra seems to be one of the most well-known drugs of the company. However, it is not the only drug behind Pfizer’s success. There are many others.
“Though it is perhaps the most well-known drug of our company, it represents only a small portion of our revenue. We have a very broad portfolio of products which use to cure most common diseases that you can imagine for example, high cholesterol, arthritis pain, hypertension, cancer, smoking addiction, rheumatoid arthritis, neuropathic pain, infectious, pneumonia and many more,” says Mr. Malherbe.
With its heavy investment in Research & Development, Mr. Malherbe believes that Pfizer provides some significant products which tend to be the best-in-class. He claims that many of Pfizer’s products are the top selling brands and available in most hospitals and quality drug stores across Thailand.
“Our product pipeline is very interesting. We will have the most exciting product launches coming up in the next few years in our anti-cancer treatments portfolio. These will be revolutionary products with a completely new way of treating this terrible disease,” says Mr. Malherbe with excitement.
“We are entering a new phase of treatments. Pfizer and its centers around the world are working on this. Now we are able to target the therapy much more accurately. I believe that developments in the pharmaceutical industry in the next 5-10 years will be extremely interesting,” adds Mr. Malherbe.
Pfizer Thailand was established in 1958. The company is the number one pharmaceutical company in Thailand which operates under four business divisions: Biopharmaceuticals, Nutrition, Consumer Healthcare, and Animal Health with over 700 employees.
“The company’s mission and vision is to provide better healthcare to the people of Thailand,” says Mr. Malherbe.
Three major groups of their clients are government hospitals (which account for the largest portion), private hospitals and private retail. Among this three, retail market is the fast-growing over the last few years and seem to keep going with a positive trend.
However, managing the biggest pharmaceutical company in Thailand is not without its challenges.
“I truly believe that being the biggest pharmaceutical company has some obligations. We need to be at the forefront of searching for a new treatment and passing on new medical knowledge to physicians,” adds Mr. Malherbe.
The company has played an active role in supporting local healthcare professionals: a doctor, pharmacists, nurses, etc. on educational activities to enhance their professional skills so that they can provide a better quality of treatment to patients. Outside healthcare community, the company also claims that they work very closely with the Thai government either on regulatory or policy development aspects.
“Building trust with our clients is the most important thing to do and to achieve that it is not only about selling good products, we have done lots of things beyond that. And that’s where the Pfizer Foundation comes into the picture,” adds Mr. Malherbe.
Pfizer Thailand Foundation
Pfizer Thailand Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to philanthropic programs. Established in 2001, its board members come from academic, medical, and social work fields.
Funded by Pfizer, the Foundation has initiated many programs, among them are Scholarship program for medical and pharmacist students, HIV/AIDS Prevention and Assistance, Thailand’s Cancer Control Efforts, Tsunami Relief Effort and Young Leadership Program, e-Medical Libraries, The Diflucan Partnership Program and Global Health Fellow Program.
The Foundation’s Scholarship program has granted 250 medical and pharmacist students who are academically-sound but underprivileged in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam since 2003.
“There’s no commercial interest to it. This is one of the things that make me extremely proud to be working for Pfizer Thailand,” says Mr. Malherbe with a smile.
Danish Approach to Pfizer Thailand
“I have a principle that says, ‘It must be fun to go to work’. I thoroughly enjoy my work, though I can be very serious about it. If you are not enjoying yourself at work, you are not engaged. And you have to be engaged to deliver something extraordinary,” states Mr. Malherbe.
With his Danish background, Mr. Malherbe brings some Danish touch and leadership culture to Pfizer Thailand.
“I’m a very visible country manager. That probably comes from the Danish leadership culture where we traditionally have a very flat organization. My door is always open and everyone can come to speak directly with me. I walk around a lot in the office. I also travel around the country to visit the sales reps who work upcountry. I really enjoy knowing what’s going on in the market and try to keep myself updated by visiting doctors and hospitals as often as possible,” says Mr. Malherbe.
According to Mr. Malherbe, Pfizer Thailand has been voted by doctors as the most preferred partner of choice for seven years in a row.
“That tells me that people here are very dedicated, professional and they are respected by doctors. My team works very hard. However, work-life balance for me is very important,” says Mr. Malherbe.