Sopharma puts port­fo­lio ex­pan­sion in the lime­light

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Sopharma, es­tab­lished 80 years ago, is the old­est Bul­gar­ian phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany. Its prod­ucts are sold in over 32 coun­tries. The com­pany fo­cuses on generic medicines and also of­fers orig­i­nal plant-based ther­a­pies.

In June, Sopharma opened a new solid forms fa­cil­ity, an in­vest­ment of about 75 mil­lion levs. What are your short-term in­vest­ment plans?

With the com­ple­tion of the new fac­tory we are fin­ished ren­o­vat­ing the pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties of Sopharma and we have now com­pletely changed the face of the com­pany. In the fu­ture our ef­forts and re­sources will be fo­cused on the ex­pan­sion of our prod­uct port­fo­lio.

Will the fo­cus be on generic medicines or on orig­i­nal drugs?

Some 75% of the com­pany’s port­fo­lio is com­prised of gener­ics and the re­main­der is orig­i­nal prod­ucts, mainly prod­ucts with plant ori­gin. Ef­forts will be fo­cused pre­dom­i­nantly on generic ther­a­pies. As you know, Sopharma’s orig­i­nal port­fo­lio con­sists of phyto prod­ucts which were de­vel­oped be­fore the pri­vati­sa­tion of the com­pany.

A num­ber of coun­tries across the globe have stepped up re­im­burse­ment of gener­ics. Do you think that Bul­garia is fol­low­ing their ex­am­ple?

Gener­ics can im­prove the ef­fi­ciency of the Na­tional Health In­sur­ance Fund's re­im­burse­ment pol­icy, but this re­source has not been tapped so far. Orig­i­nal prod­ucts re­main dom­i­nant, in­clud­ing some whose patent pro­tec­tion has ex­pired. I be­lieve that this is­sue will be on the agenda of both the Min­istry of Health and the Na­tional Health In­sur­ance Fund, as it will give them the op­por­tu­nity to bet­ter ad­dress the needs of cit­i­zens with oth­er­wise in­suf­fi­cient fi­nan­cial re­sources.

Some re­ces­sion-hit coun­tries made great ef­forts to quickly in­tro­duce gener­ics to cut health­care costs.

Bul­garia has done lit­tle about the prob­lem. The Min­istry of Health should use the gener­ics in­dus­try as one of its main tools in its cost-trim­ming mis­sion. Sopharma was even ac­cused of sell­ing the most ex­pen­sive medicines, which is a para­dox. In­deed, we are proud of the fact that the com­pany op­er­ates on the free mar­ket. Sopharma re­ceived only 1.82% of pub­lic funds spent on medicines in

Sopharma has some of the most com­pet­i­tive prices in the coun­try and we do not see a rea­son to worry.

2011. The com­pany gen­er­ates the re­main­der of its sales on the free mar­ket, so we are def­i­nitely not re­ly­ing on the gov­ern­ment. For­eign ex­perts re­fer to the Bul­gar­ian health­care sys­tem as a "bou­tique" one – it re­im­burses mainly ther­a­pies for rare con­di­tions, which re­quire very ex­pen­sive drugs. Sopharma, though, is not present in this seg­ment. We are fo­cused on the "ev­ery­day" needs of peo-

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