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A Q&A with Gilles Cottier, president of SAFC, on recent industry trends.
What is the biggest industry challenge you're now facing?
While companies always feel pressure to compete on pricing, the real pressure in the market comes as a result of the drive to provide and guarantee quality through process improvements and robust supply-chain security. Over the past few years, the market has seen a paradigm shift toward quality and supply-chain integrity. Demand to increase GMP compliance originated with regulatory bodies, but has been further emphasized by requests for compliance from customers and the industry as a whole. This shift in focus highlighted many issues, such as contamination, counterfeiting, and falsified documentation of pharmaceuticals and ingredients. The industry responded with a focus on accountability and a commitment to rectifying these matters and ensuring that offenders were held liable for their actions. It was encouraging to see the industry come together as a community to demand better quality for customers and, subsequently, the end-patient population. However, with these demands come pressures on suppliers and CMOs to meet these increasing quality requirements while keeping costs reasonable for customers.
Do you see a new industry trend emerging?
As we continue to emerge from the economic downturn of the past couple of years, our industry as a whole has been forced to re-examine the way it does business. We have seen an increased focus on supply-chain transparency and quality. This problem has yet to be solved entirely, and the industry as a whole needs to continue to address it. Some companies offer increased transparency, but are still searching for cost–effective solutions. Transparency remains one of the major hurdles that the industry has yet to overcome.
Beyond that, the industry has been looking toward emerging markets and developing strategies to maximize market potential and positioning. SAFC has maintained a focus on identifying and participating in emerging markets to ensure that we are well-positioned to serve them.