Medimpex Jamaica Ltd. & Medimpex West Indies Ltd.
A tradition of care
Business View Magazine interviews representatives of Medimpex Jamaica Ltd. & Medimpex West Indies Ltd. for our focus on Best Practices in Health Care
Described as ‘worldwide modern technology steeped in centuries-old tradition’, Medimpex West Indies Limited & Medimpex Jamaica Limited are making waves as the innovative subsidiaries of two leading Central Eastern European multinational pharmaceutical manufacturers – Gedeon Richter and Egis.
Medimpex Hungary established its first office in Jamaica in 1979 and was later re-established as a trading firm under the name Medimpex Jamaica Limited in 1982. Two years later, Medimpex West Indies was established and took over the entire export/import activity from Hungary to the Caribbean and part of Latin America, while Medimpex Jamaica became the exclusive distributor for the Hungarian pharmaceutical companies in Jamaica. Both companies vigorously observed the valuable traditions of Hungarian pharmacology and, in a wider sense those, of the Hungarian medical sciences.
Most of the goods distributed by Medimpex in the Caribbean come from Hungary (Gedeon Richter and Egis) but the company also represents other big international suppliers from the U.S., Canada, UK, Germany, and India, including Bayer, Thornton & Ross, Ryvis, Prime Health, to name a few. In recent years, some of the finest manufacturers of pharmaceuticals in the world have appointed Medimpex to distribute their products in the company’s Caribbean marketplace. With this blend of Hungarian and international manufacturers, Medimpex offers a comprehensive range of world-class products. A great source of company pride is the fact that in the early 1980s Medimpex pioneered the introduction of the first highest quality branded generic products at affordable prices to the Caribbean public and private sectors.
Today, the main focus of Medimpex Jamaica is on improving the quality of life on the island and in the Caribbean; promoting healthy living by providing top-grade products to the Jamaican and Caribbean people. From antibiotics to anaesthetic agents to multivitamins, they offer a wide range of products that cater to health care needs, backed by a team of dedicated individuals who are experts in providing complete customer satisfaction.
Lukasz Kowalczyk, Managing Director of Medimpex Jamaica and Medimpex West Indies, reports, “We were one of the first pharmaceutical companies to create markets in the private sector in the Caribbean. After more than 40 years, our two entities – Medimpex Jamaica and Medimpex West Indies – are still delivering top quality medications to the region. Medimpex West Indies is a logistics hub, which is supplying all English speaking Caribbean islands with pharmaceuticals from Europe, Canada, even India.” Jamaica is the biggest and most important of the markets supplied by Medimpex West Indies, but the company also supplies Barbados, Antigua, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Turks & Caicos, and Trinidad and Tobago.”
Medimpex West Indies operates from a special economic zone (formerly Free Zone) in Kingston, Jamaica, where they have a warehouse for local supplies and an office. They can import and re-export pharmaceuticals to supply the islands, including Jamaica, from that entity. “We are delivering all services offered by the industry for our suppliers,” says Kowalczyk, “starting from product registration to the detailing in doctors’ offices through our medical representatives unit. We also do merchandising through our pharmaceutical representatives team. And we do deliveries to the private sector and government – supplying hospitals, private clinics, regular pharmacies, and health centers.”
Keeping the product line fresh by introducing new items is integral to the company’s success. But, especially during COVID-19, it’s taking longer for local registration of items. In Jamaica, the time from submitting a dossier to receiving certification can be two to three years. That being said, they have some very good products in the pipeline awaiting registration.
“Hopefully, in the upcoming months, we’ll be able to launch two or three new branded generics in Jamaica and the region,” says Kowalczyk. “The pandemic situation affected our business and the whole industry. Some factories in Europe and India were shut down during the first wave and access to APIs was difficult. So some of our orders were delayed because of the extended lead time from our suppliers. But we did our homework in advance and tried to keep higher stocks than usual of our products. So from our end it wasn’t too bad.”
Medimpex has about 70 staff in total. According to Sergio González López, Public Relations & Project Manager, “Almost 65 percent of our staff are women, and almost half of the managers are women. So this company is not only committed to delivering first-class products for healthy living, and giving back to our communities, but also offering opportunities for everybody, regardless of gender. We’re very proud of that.” Three long-term employees give a variety of reasons why they are pleased and proud to work at Medimpex…
Michelle Allen, Executive Secretary at Medimpex shares, “I’ve been with the company for 21 years and it has been a great experience for me. We are very professional here and the managers have an open-door policy with the staff. Our values are based upon honesty and integrity, and your input is valued. Your ideas are always acknowledged. We are always told that the employees are the greatest asset at Medimpex and that’s why I enjoy working here.”
Basil Wright, Marketing & Regulatory Manager, recounts, “It’s been a good stint working here at Medimpex. I’m one of the most senior workers (30 years) and I’ve watched the company’s development over the years. I can recall they came here many years ago as a Hungarian company that has since been infused with the Jamaican and Caribbean culture of friendliness, and caring, and sharing. I’ve seen them grow to become a very powerful and successful organization. I’ve also watched the corporate culture evolve based on the cooperation between management and staff, wherein we coalesce our common goals, objectives, and developmental strategies. Jobs at Medimpex are at a premium – our outstanding reputation and our excellent staff complement has helped us remain successful, even through this pandemic. And I am very proud to be a part of the team.”
Brenda Little, Senior Customer Service Representative, notes, “My experience at Medimpex has been a wonderful one. They care about their workers and there are a lot of things put in place to make sure the staff is secure. The culture is very strategic and there is a lot of team effort. Transparency and efficiency are the main priorities. I’ve been here 15 years and we have a lot of benefits – including incentives for pension plans. Medimpex is at the top as it relates to the competitive edge for products, services, and management, and even though we have grown over the years, the best is yet to come.”
Product training is a critical focus for the company representatives. As González López, explains, “In our type of industry, most of the staff training is focused on medical reps. Our reps are considered quite a force out in the field and they have to have repeat/reminder training on the products. We have two dozen men and women who deal with doctors at hospitals and clinics, and so they need to be up to date on the products and any issues.” When new products launch, it is important that company reps have strong, in-depth training on those products based on the latest scientific information available. Each product needs at least one week of training.
González López adds, “From time to time, we also do training in product information and technique for the sales representatives who take orders from the pharmacists at pharmacies. We believe that the job of a sales rep is much more than just ticking boxes on an order sheet. We’re looking to add more over-the-counter products to our portfolio. So we have our sales reps ask clients what products would be on their wish list – what they would like the management to source – and we will go outside of the scope of current suppliers, looking for new products.”
Looking ahead, Kowalczyk states, “Constant growth is our goal for the future. We are here for almost half a century and we want to keep providing the very best in top quality products and service. Thanks to our wonderful team, we are able to assist doctors and professionals with extending their knowledge about our products and the potential options of treatment. We are becoming not just a supplier but also an essential partner. Last year we moved to a bigger warehouse and office and we need more space for growth. So I truly believe that the next five to ten years will be concentrated growth in terms of establishing our presence in the region.”
Medimpex is always pleased to help countries where they have a presence, especially in this last year when the COVID-19 pandemic has hit economies worldwide. In Jamaica, alone, Medimpex has donated to Public Hospitals, health clinics, and health associations such as:
* Kingston Public Hospital
* Spanish Town Hospital
* May Pen Hospital
* Jamaica Constabulary Force (few locations, in partnership with other companies)
* Women’s Health Network of Jamaica
* Support Jamaican Front Line Health Workers (Public Hospitals and Public Health Centres)
* Jamaica Society for the Blind
AT A GLANCE
Medimpex Jamaica Ltd. & Medimpex West Indies Ltd.
What: Distributor of high-quality pharmaceuticals; subsidiary of Hungarian Gedeon Richter and Egis
Where: Headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica