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[CEO Insights] Pfizer Hong Kong - Exclusive Interview:

What makes a successful enterprise, products or missions?

Interviewee: Stephen Leung, Country Manager

Interviewer: Dr. Mark Lee, Research Director of Asia Pacific Institute for Strategy

Date: Mar, 2019

Pfizer Corporation Limited is a biological research pharmaceutical company founded in 1849 in the New York City, US, which has been applying the latest technology in improving health. In 1956, the Hong Kong branch was established. The products of Pfizer can be provided for the treatment and sickness prevention of human beings and animals. During the World War II, the patients and wounded were urge for medical treatment, which motivated the scientists from Pfizer to find solutions and finally created the first Penicillin Antibiotics. Therefore, Pfizer became the largest producer for this kind of first-aid drugs. And the first-aid spirit has been lasting since then.

MARK SIR : What’s the meaning of “168•Home•Health”? Is it the targeted turnover?

Stephen : Two years ago, we just entered our 168-year’s anniversary. Since “Home” has the same pronunciation of “Plus” in Chinese, we hope that our career can be continuous and value-added, while the colleagues and family members we care about can be healthy. Our core faith is to bring “family members” and “health” to people of all ranks and classes, every family and the whole society, to jointly create a healthy future!

MARK SIR : Is there any special meaning for the name of the company?

Stephen : In Chinese, the two characters mean “brilliance” and “longevity”. We want to realize the health vision of “brilliance” and “longevity”.

MARK SIR : How long will it take for a new drug to come out?

Stephen : The average time for researching and developing a new drug is about 10 years. The clinical research of different stages alone will take 6-7 years, costing as much as 1.2 billion dollars for research and development. However, the time for protection of the intellectual property right is 20 years (including the research and development period, and drug registration), so the actual time for protection of the intellectual property right is only a few years after coming out.

MARK SIR : So important and long program!

Stephen : The sense of mission is very important. The research and development of the drugs need enthusiasm and miracles to provide the drugs to the patients as soon as possible and keep improving. Let’s get healthier lives. Therefore, the company began to push forward the “168 Home” to encourage the staff to take exercise to get healthy. This is the long-term goals and the essential for getting longevity.

MARK SIR : In my memories, the Chinese medicine factories can easily earn money and gain profits, right?

Stephen : The industry can be divided into two categories: drug producer and scientific research pharmacy. And we are the later one. Previously, there were about 40 companies of the same type. However, because of the high cost, there are only 10 now. Especially in the recent 30 years, there were many mergers and acquisitions. We also purchased and merged several scientific research companies. The scientific research no longer fights alone. Without the fortresses and walls, cooperation becomes the main mode to decrease cost and risks. Cooperation is the way to survive.

MARK SIR : The drugs with patent rights can be sold for a higher price, isn’t it the way to earn profits?

Stephen : The price of a drug can be determined by many elements. To be short, there are three aspects.

Past: The research and development of the drugs related to high risk and long time. With as long as more than 10 years, only one drug can pass the numerous examinations and come out from ten thousands of the other drugs. Therefore, the price of a drug should be based on the research and development cost.

Currently: The new drugs of Pfizer will contain the Patient Funding Scheme to undertake part of the expenses.

Future: Currently, the research and development of the drugs for cancers and rare diseases are harder than before. Pfizer insists in the investment of scientific research to continuously bring new drugs and hope for the patients to cure the difficult and complex diseases.

MARK SIR : Are there any new drugs for us to give attention to recently?

Stephen : With high transparency of the research and development nowadays, the cooperation and combination between the enterprises are totally transparent. The market will show the latest information. For example, the upcoming new drugs for different cancers, and the NSAIDs for skin and alopecia are very helpful for the symptoms. In addition, the new drugs for rheumatoid disease have greatly improved the living quality of the patients.

MARK SIR : But according to the private surveys, is it because of the drugs that human beings can live for a longer period of time?

Stephen : Yes, people can live for 80-90 years mostly, even 100 years. With the development of medical treatment, the modern people care much about their diets and pay attention to take practice. Therefore, they can have long lives.

MARK SIR: Are the drugs prescribed by the doctors? With the popularity of AI and the Internet, the consumers can purchase drugs online, does it influence you?

Stephen : The sales of the drugs have been under the stringent regulation of the Department of Health and the relevant laws. The OTC drugs and prescription drugs must be sold by the registered clinics or pharmacies according to the certain conditions. For instance, the prescription drugs must be sold under the supervision of the registered pharmacists by the doctors or the pharmacies with Rx marks. Based on the current laws and regulations, no drugs can be sold online. It’s very dangerous for the citizens to achieve drugs online, which is related to an individual’s health and safety. So the patients need to consult the professional medical staff and follow their introductions to take the drugs, instead of buying drugs at will.

MARK SIR : Are there any suggestions for the young people to show their abilities?

Stephen : Hong Kong is a land of promise, with opportunities and fine weather. It’s important for the young people to have appropriate attitude, mood and mindset, without afraid of failure. They should fight on despite repeated setbacks. As the Pearl of the Orient, Hong Kong can cultivate you as the pearl from sand! People’s potential is just like tea bag, which can only play its role in the boiled water instead of the warm or frozen water!

MARK SIR : Well, how to improve leadership skills?

Stephen : Everyone is a leader- Lead yourself with your head. Think carefully about whether the goal is right. Lead others with your heart. If you don’t love with heart, there will only be passivity. Bring trust to each other with love, sincerity and concern to get efficiency. And with guts, you can be brave and decisive on difficulties!

MARK SIR : Yes, the approaches and chances can be found after frustration!Can you share your management concept of A, B, C, D, E, F, G?

Stephen : The seven elements are so significant that all the managers should pay attention:

A-Attitude

B-Bravery

C-Creative

D-Determination

E-Enthusiasm

F-Flexibility

G-Growth

Singapore: +65 6850 5067

Hong Kong: +852 3970 1828

Email: cs@apifs.org

Asia Pacific Institute for Strategy (C) 2021

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