With the launch of Access VetMed, we had a talk with Gerardo Kravanja, the managing director of Trei, the Italian subsidiary of Livisto. He was part of the rebranding taskforce that came up with the new name and we asked him to share his insights on this process and thoughts on the veterinary pharmaceutical industry.
Q: How did the taskforce come up with Access VetMed?
A: Our approach to find the name was quite detailed. We started by asking, what EGGVP stands for. It was clear the awareness of the association was low amongst various stakeholders, limiting to those who worked on regulatory issues.
First of all, we wanted to “break the egg”. We tried to find a name that would allow extending the association’s image out of the purely regulatory box and the association regarded as a valid partner for a wider scope of stakeholders. Dolores Cainzos, the chair of the board, was the one who put the “access” on the table already in the beginning.
Secondly, “generic” was not representative of all members. Many of them offer added value medicines that are not generics. The common goal for all of us is to increase access to veterinary medicines.
After several meetings, we came to a conclusion that we needed a new, more representative name that would help the communication to our audiences. As for the vision and mission, we considered they were valid and did not need a substantial change.
Access prevailed. You immediately catch the cornerstone of the identity. It means availability, convenience, compliance, efficacy, safety and savings!
Q: What would you say is the most important quality of generic veterinary medicines?
A: For starters, I prefer using the term equivalent. That is what the generics are compared to the originator. But we talk about generic plus, which means that some product characteristics are an enhanced version of the originator. It may be a more suitable dosage, packaging size or application method.
Equivalent products are younger than the originator, and due to that, they are developed and produced according to the latest state of the art, and the most recent rules, analysis, and quality standards. Attention has also been put, for example, to making it easier for the companion animal owners to administer the medicine by adding flavour to the product.
Q: What would you say is the most important impact the equivalents for animal health?
A: “Access” applies here as well. Producers of generic equivalents have access to free competition. Wider range of players is good for the market. More products mean more alternatives for all. Generics also help secure the availability of the products.
From the economic point of view, it is clear that generics contribute to making the products more affordable, which benefits the farm and companion animal owners.
Q: In your country, Italy, the government has taken a surprising step to bring savings into veterinary medicines. Tell us more about that and what is your view on it?
A: In the spring 2021, the Italian Ministry of Health decided that a veterinarian may prescribe a human medicine for a companion animal, if it contains the same active ingredient as the vet medicine, and when the human medicine is cheaper. This caused a wide discussion in the pharmaceutical industry, but also at the European level. It is in contrast with the EU veterinary medicines legislation and competition rules. Of course, the animals should be treated with veterinary medicine according to the approved use indicated in the product leaflet, SPC.
In addition, the use of veterinary medicines has been closely monitored through e-prescription since 2019. It allows to identify the specific vet or farm, including all medicines and all animals. The human medicines use is not tracked.
It seems that the government is not aware of the alternatives. Generic veterinary medicines and cascade prescribing can be a solution for companion animal owners to save money, but this should only be applied to products that are approved for animals use.
Q: What would you see as the main drivers or future changes in the veterinary medicines sector?
A: Digitalisation. Covid-19 already pushed the digitalisation forward. New important and diverse intermediaries will appear in the digital distribution channels, which will increase access. Also, as the new generation of veterinarians take over the practises and apply new treatment approaches and different ways of working, including the use of digital tools and social media.
Concentration. Buying groups with private equity may become increasingly active. We can expect big veterinary clinics as a result of mergers. They become less than what they would be as separate entities, but this can be an opportunity for generics. In the increased competition, we can stay competitive.
Farm vs companion animals. Concentration of business in the agriculture continues which means less and less small and medium sized farms. People demand quality instead of quantity. The industry and farms are doing a lot to improve, but lack of resources, however, will drive to more plant-based nutrition. The share of companion animals will grow and demand for specialised health and well-being services for them increases.
Last question, what is your favourite animal and why?
I would say a tiger, but amongst companion animals and livestock, I’ll say a (dairy) cow for its calmness and generosity, and a dog for its affection and loyalty.
Gerardo Kravanja, Managing Director of Trei, Italian subsidiary of Livisto, based in Emilia Romagna, Italy. With a financial background, he worked as controller in textile, and heating and cooling industry before entering the board of Trei in 2013. He was involved in Livisto’s rebranding process in 2016 when the European subsidiaries were brought under one brand.