Opinion: New tool helps bridge manufacturers with potential markets
13th April 2016
by John Skibiak
“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” – Warren Buffett
Contraceptive manufacturers are unaware of market opportunities in developing country markets due to patchy information
Faced with costly and complicated product registration processes in several countries, many companies limit their market entry to countries they may perceive as low risk and have significant market potential. Often however, they make this determination on the basis of very little information. In many cases they gravitate toward countries with which they are familiar, rather than risk expansion into another unfamiliar country. This restricts the number of quality-assured contraceptives on the markets in many developing countries. Also, companies all tend to register in the same developing country markets without recognizing opportunities in certain middle-income country markets.
"There’s no doubt it fits into our outreach strategy to identify countries with unmet needs. We need reliable data to make more informed decisions and we are happy to be part of this much-needed initiative." - Venkatesh Iyer, Head Emerging Markets, Women Health Care, Jai Pharma Ltd (a Mylan company).
The need for relevant, up-to-date information is clear. Many manufacturers are keenly aware of unmet need and might consider registering their products in high-need countries. But when information is unreliable, manufacturers including Coalition GEMS* members, feel it is seldom worth their while to chart new territories. They need reliable data to make more informed decisions.
Yet, it is just companies like Shanghai Dahua, Pregna, and Jai Pharma – with newly quality assured reproductive health products – that are vital to reaching ambitious global objectives**. By the year 2020, the global family planning community aims to build a marketplace of quality-assured contraceptive products that can sustain access to 380 million women. And these same manufacturers along with other quality assured manufacturers are often asked by the RH community to register in as many priority countries as possible. Between USAID and UNFPA this amounts to more than 50 countries. But the lack of insights into market characteristics, potential sales and regulatory requirements make the business case for investing in these countries less clear.
The RHTargetMarket Tool is designed to improve market visibility and reduce the business risk currently associated with making decisions in uncertain environments. Manufacturers have, for some time now, indicated that the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition can and should play a role in helping them understand and assess the many variables that shape the business case for product registration.
Responding to this call, the Coalition consulted with several partners in the manufacturing sector and, based on their input, developed an interactive web-based tool that allows manufacturers to choose indicators that are uniquely important to them in an easy-to-use format. RHTargetMarket, which launches this week, provides manufacturers with access to critical information that will facilitate their decision-making processes including:
- historical demand
- market share by product/method mix
- unmet need
- regulatory requirements
- demographic information
- donor priority countries
Once the specific desired criteria are selected by the user, an algorithm generates a list of countries, prioritized according to how well they meet the criteria. The user can export the list of prioritized countries, as well as the supporting data, to use for further analysis and decision-making
"RHTargetMarket offers more comprehensive criteria than other existing tools and is very simple, time-effective, and of course, free. It will allow us, as manufacturers, to consider reaching underserved markets with appropriate data and scenarios to do various analyses. It will be a great decision-making tool for identifying markets, developing product and regulatory strategies." - Mukul Taparia, Vice-President, Pregna International Ltd.
For the reproductive health community, RHTargetMarket promises to increase choice for end-users in priority countries. The tool and the reports that it generates are a critical part of a larger strategic process undertaken by manufacturers making investment decisions. Data transparency, especially for manufacturers new to reproductive health markets will improve market introductions and increase access and availability of quality assured products. The tool is free and accessible for public use with the data being sourced from reliable partners such as the World Bank, Population Reference Bureau, and Track 20 initiative.
"Any tool, such as this one, that helps bridge manufacturers to communities facing unmet need is welcome in this critical time." - CHAI Family Planning Team
Transparency of information in the market place allows partners make better informed decisions and expand confidently into new markets.
RHTargetMarket leverages existing data repositories from across Coalition partners. If your organization collects country specific information regarding regulatory requirements, family planning product use, donor priorities, or other relevant market information that you would like us to include in the tool, please feel free to contact us.
"We are pleased to partner with RHSC on this critical market-shaping tool, which will greatly facilitate strategic, informed decision-making to expand contraceptive markets and accelerate progress against the FP2020 goals. “The ability to make the rich data from Track20, which tracks progress on FP2020’s 17 core indicators, more widely available and usable is a win for the family planning community and for the millions of women and girls with an unmet need for quality-assured products." - Beth Schlachter, Executive Director, FP2020.
*Coalition GEMS refers to the Generic Manufacturer’s Caucus of the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition
**By the year 2020, the global family planning community aims to build a marketplace of quality-assured contraceptive products that can sustain access to 380 million women, not just in the 69 least-developed countries, but also in many middle-income countries where pockets of unmet need remain alarmingly high.