Director of Parazelsus
Markus Haefeli is the Managing Director of Parazelsus Limited in Switzerland. Between 1995 and 2004 he worked at Zuellig Pharma as Chief Financial Officer. Prior to his joining Zuellig Pharma he was with Procter & Gamble. Markus Haefeli holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from Berne University. Markus recently visited Pakistan to check out the facilities of Remington Pharmaceutical (Pvt) Ltd, a leading pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in the country.
Parazelsus Limited is an independent, pro-active investment and management group, founded by Peter Zuellig in 2005. The team at Parazelsus includes industry and financial experts in its key investment areas! However, Parazelsus understands very well how to generate value in the healthcare sector through an unconventional approach.
If you can tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in Turkey and have grown up across several countries including Libya, Canada & Latin America always roaming through these interesting places. I pursued my master’s degree in Business Administration from Berne University in Switzerland.
Why did you choose this specific profession?
I was always into numbers as it fits my point of view.
How did your association with Parazelsus come about?
Peter knew me from Zuellig Pharma where I worked from 1995 to 2004. Hence, when he formed Parazelsus, he approached me to be a part of their team.
What is the nature of your visit?
I come to Pakistan 3 to 4 times a year as part of different projects for the management of existing clients and for creating further opportunities with prospective clients.
What is your first impression of Pakistan?
My view of Pakistan is not what you read or see in the news abroad. When I meet with friends and business contacts in Europe, I always give them a balanced view of my opinion of Pakistan. People here are very friendly and it is a great place for business as people are very efficient and professional.
Can you briefly tell our readers about Parazelsus Global and Parazelsus Pakistan operations?
Parazelsus forms a direct link between manufacturers and pharmaceutical outlets and chemists where medicines are sold. We are not involved in the actual trade of medicines.
Parazelsus Pakistan is focused on the Distribution of Pharmaceutical products. On 1st of January 2007, Parazelsus acquired the distribution operations of Novartis in Pakistan – regarded as the leader in its field today. Building on a strong foundation, Parazelsus is introducing specific know-how in order to grow the business to become an industry leader. Parazelsus Pakistan covers the entire span of services that make an industry-leading distributor of pharmaceuticals. Distribution services include:
Warehousing, inventory management, sales order processing, invoicing, delivery and transportation, collection, credit & risk management, deploying and managing sales forces, repackaging and labelling, sample, gift and literature management and information and data services.
How has been Parazelsus’ experience in Pakistan?
Our experience has been positive and Parazelsus is committed to its investment in Pakistan. We do get setbacks such as issues of fraud, law & order, political disturbances & frequent staff turnover. In Pakistan, we have highly qualified and well educated people but our talent tends to get poached as we cannot remunerate our employees the same compensation as companies do in Saudi Arabia & Dubai. Despite setbacks, Parazelsus does ensure full transparency in all its business operations and follows through on its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). An example of which is Novartis leading a project in collaboration with the local government to provide medical and healthcare to cancer patients.
As a leading pharmaceutical distribution company in Pakistan, Parazelsus cares about its employees. We ensure that our employee benefits include insurance, medical facilities, social security, mobile transportation facilities and overtime payments. We bring international standards to local market.
Can you throw light on pharmaceutical industry of Pakistan and the challenges faced by the modern pharmaceutical industry?
The Pakistani market attracts investors because of its rapidly increasing population and rapidly growing disposable income, particularly of a burgeoning middle class. The Pharmaceutical industry growth rate is usually twice that of GDP which makes it attractive for investment. The major challenges in the industry include increased competition due to a wide range of products that cater to a large number of customers and pharmaceutical innovations. But this is a positive challenge which helps us in our plans for future growth.
How do you see future of Parazelsus in Pakistan i.e. new services offered by Parazelsus?
We anticipate good growth rates in Pakistan going forward despite price control issues. Parazelsus will continue to offer services to new clients like Remington Pharmaceuticals as we are always on the lookout for new business and plan to offer a wider range of services and merchandising activities, particularly at the point of sale (POS).
From our experience and feedback from clients, for most pharmaceutical companies it’s beneficial to have a sole distribution service provider. But it could vary depending on the size and operations of the company.
Performance of Parazelsus Pakistan vs. Parazelsus in the region, particularly in our neighboring countries including India & Afghanistan?
I would not compare these markets. What we have seen in Pakistan is a steady, sustainable growth over years. As we have only recently started in Afghanistan, it is tough to compare the two markets. In India, it was difficult to establish ourselves initially but after a short period of time we have started to witness quick growth.
Parazelsus Pakistan relationship with Remington Pharmaceutical (Pvt) Ltd?
Commercially we distribute medical products for one of Remington Pharmaceutical’s divisions and are just getting to know each other and look forward to working with their team in coming years.
What are your thoughts and experience of the visit to Remington’s manufacturing facility?
I am overwhelmed with the facilities present at Remington Pharmaceutical. As I was involved in the running of a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Philippines a few years ago, I am particularly impressed by the work flow, maintenance and technical knowledge of people working here at Remington.
What are your future plans and will you come back to Pakistan?
I certainly will come back to Pakistan, continue my regular visits and make every effort to visit our operations across all 13 cities nationwide.
Lastly, what is your message to our readers…
I will share our company’s new vision for 2013. “3C13 – Commitment, Compliance and Control in 2013.” Compliance is the most essential facet of the pharmaceutical business. We aim to give best quality, 100% efficacy and value for money for consumers. Parazelsus only does business with companies with good ethics.