Guest: Gary Bird
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Gary currently holds the position of Country Manager for MEDA Pharmaceuticals Australia and New Zealand. Previously he has held a number of senior marketing roles in the healthcare sector, including Regional Marketing Director for Johnson and Johnson with responsibility for 14 local operating companies across the Asia Pacific region. Gary has been recognised within Johnson and Johnson as Asia Pacific Marketer of the Year, and was a founding member of the company’s Innovation Council with a mission to lead and drive a sustainable culture of innovation.
Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, get the best options when it comes to you or your loved ones’ pharmaceutical needs as we learn more about MEDA Pharmaceuticals Australia and New Zealand from their Country Manager Gary Bird. Their product portfolio is divided into three main areas which are specialty products, non-prescription products and branded generics. Committed to quality products and happy customers, they are listed as the 48th largest pharmaceutical company in the world.
Health Professional Radio
Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio with Wayne Bucklar. Joining me today my guest is Gary Bird. Gary is the country manager from Meda Pharmaceuticals and he joins us from Sydney in Australia. Gary welcome to Health Professional Radio.
Gary Bird: Thanks Wayne.
W: Now Gary I have to confess my ignorance here, I don’t know anything about Meda Pharmaceuticals. So can you give me an idea of who you are and how big you are?
G: Sure Wayne, well you’re not alone there. Not many people know who we are. Meda’s actually an international company European based but it’s only recently expanded into the southern hemisphere. So we’re actually the 48th or maybe 47th largest pharmaceutical company in the world. We’ve got over 3,000 employees globally and we’re quite big in Europe more recently though we’ve expanded in the southern hemisphere market in China, Australia, South Africa and Brazil.
W: So in Australia, your footprint is now Australia wide?
G: Yeah, that’s right. We cover Australia and New Zealand.
W: Alright. Now I’m much more confident that I will know some of your brands and knowing your corporate name, but we’ll come to those in just a minute. When you say you’re a pharmaceutical company, is that kind of over the counter pharmaceuticals or that prescription pharmaceuticals or do you supply to government or to the health department or to the public? Just sketch in some of the details for me.
G: No problems. We are a combination of specialty pharmaceutical product and over the counter product. So no particular supply in the government, but the traditional pharmaceutical route that supply to pharmacist and hospitals. And as I mention a mix of prescription pharmaceuticals and over the counter products.
W: Give us some sense of some of the products in your range Gary, because it’s without slipping them a pharmacy and go shopping and looking for fine print. What sort of products do you have on your own?
G: Yeah, our lead product at the moment in the OTC category is “Waxsol.” It’s actually the biggest ear wax removal in Australia would you believe. We’ve sold over half a million unit’s year now. And that’s available at any pharmacy and actually in call center markets. And then beyond that we sell a nasal spray for hay fever, it’s an antihistamine nasal spray called “Azep.” And we have an antihistamine eye drop called “Eyezep” they’re both popular over the counter medication in pharmacy. And we just launched a new product range called “Linicin” and it’s a range of products that treat head lice. And so that’s a good representation of our OTC portfolio.
W: And for all of the children, products of head lice is something they know by heart I have to say.
G: I do understand myself.
W: I’m think if you pop along to a meeting of parents at any primary school and start a conversation about head lice and everyone has a view (laugh).
G: It’s definitely it is amazing how many dinner parties that I attend and they’re all talking about head lice. (laugh)
W: (laughing) See, fortunately my children now are all old enough to have children of their own so I’m one generation removed from a lot of those conversations these days.
W: Gary, 95% of some of our audience are clinicians of one kind or another. We get doctors, nurses, allied health professionals mainly in either acute care or in aged care. Is there a take away message that you like them to get as a result of having a chat with us today?
G: Yeah, sure. We’ve got a couple of key prescription products. One is a cream for eczema and that’s the only non-steroid based cream available for eczema. And so that’s a terrific option we’ve got there in the prescription space. But the main one I wanted to mention is “Dymista.” Dymista is a new combination therapy for hay fever or allergic rhinitis, the first one in the world to combine both an anti-histamine and a corticosteroid that simplifies hay fever or allergic rhinitis management and is a new gold standard in the treatment of allergic rhinitis.
W: And Gary I guess for people who want more details, they can get that at your website?
G: Yes, absolutely.
W: Is that the best place to go? Just give us the URL for that if you would?
G: Yeah, that’s fine. It’s www.meda.com.au and you can find information that all our products there, particularly about Dymista. Otherwise they can contact us via that website via email or phone and were happy to send information out or sending it out from our sales and marketing group to have a chat. We’re not a big company but we’ve got a team out there and were out there promoting the products. It’s a as I said the new gold standard in the market and it’s now the fastest drawing hay fever product the spring.
W: And that was M E D A meda.com.au. Gary in every business there are misconceptions and it’s my favorite question in every interview. What’s the biggest misconception about your products and services that drive you nuts and keep you awake at night?
G Good question. Look, actually the main one is about Dymista often people look at hay fever and think it’s not that serious the condition and most patients are controlled these days on what’s available out there for hay fever, either a nasal spray or a box of tablets when you walk into a pharmacy. Actually, there’s a bunch of studies out now in good research shown that over 70% of patients are co-medicating that is they’re taking one hay fever treatment but they’ve got to go and find something else to help control hay fever. But actually we see a lot of hay fever sufferers who are self-medicating and they end up paying far more than what often their clinicians or pharmacists are aware. And so we’re encouraging all clinicians to look at their hay fever patients, ask the questions about whether they were all controlled and to consider Dymista in those patients.
W: Well today we might have helped to cure a little bit of that misconception with amongst their audience, let’s hope so. Gary it’s been a pleasure having you available and making us available to chat with us, I know you’re a busy man. I do want to just give that website a mention once again because I’m forever getting into trouble for not giving people warning, so pencils ready people. It’s www.meda.com.au did I get that one right Gary?
G: That’s correct.
W: Thank you Gary for being with us. If you just missed my conversation with Gary Bird the Country for Meda Pharmaceuticals, the good news is we have a transcript. So on our website, the Health Professional Radio website www.hpr.fm you can find a transcript of our interview with Gary. You can also find an audio archive on SoundCloud and on YouTube. My name is Wayne Bucklar, you’re listening to Health Professional Radio.