The FINANCIAL -- Due to overall economic problems, 2015 was quite a difficult year for Aversi Pharma. Ongoing currency fluctuations make it difficult for the company to make optimistic forecasts for 2016. However, Aversi is not considering cutting its budget for CSR activities this year. Moreover, new social projects have already been scheduled. The company promises to continue with the reduction of its medicines’ prices and make high-quality drugs affordable for the whole of society.
“2015 was quite a difficult year for Aversi. The turnover and profit of the company was equal to the data of the previous year. However, in USD the figures were less given the percentage of the inflation rate,” Lali Bregvadze, Head of the Public Relations Department at Aversi Pharma, told The FINANCIAL.
In her interview, Bregvadze talked about the main challenges for the Georgian pharmaceutical market, where the competition continues to grow. Bregvadze told how the leading Georgian pharmaceutical company tries to take care of the most vulnerable members of society.
“We do our best to offer qualified and cost-effective products at affordable prices. However, there are groups of our society that cannot afford high-quality products. Our social projects, therefore, help us to provide proper assistance to all groups and care for their health. Providing high-quality medical products to everyone is of great importance to our company,” said Bregvadze.
Q. The Head of the Partnership Fund recently stated that the entrance of the new pharmaceutical company ‘Humanity Georgia’ will twice reduce the cost of drugs in Georgia. Will this predicted price reduction also apply to Aversi?
A. The entrance of Humanity Georgia will not reduce the cost of medicaments that have been in high demand and popular in Georgia for many years; medicines such as No-Spa, Nimesil, Mezym Forte, Cardiomagnyl, Detralex and others. Humanity Georgia plans to start selling cheap Indian medicines with different brand names. Aversi started importing these kinds of medicines 10-15 years ago. However, neither the population expressed any desire to purchase them, nor did doctors to prescribe them. So, due to the lack of demand we are less actively importing cheap-priced Indian drugs.
Q. What kind of changes will the entrance of Humanity Georgia bring to the Georgian pharmaceutical market?
A. If the population and doctors positively react to the cheap Indian medicines of Humanity Georgia, then our company will also start importing drugs from India for cheaper prices. There are several thousand pharmaceutical factories in India and a wide choice of cheap drugs.
Q. What are your expectations for 2016?
A. On 15 October, 2009, Georgia accepted the law regarding parallel import. Since then the competition on the pharmaceutical market has been increasing. Inflation is an additional problem right now. So, making any predictions is difficult.
Q. What kind of innovations will you be offering to your customers this year?
A. We will try hard to further reduce prices of medicines by ‘bothering’ our suppliers.
Q. Can you tell us please about the CSR projects implemented by Aversi?
A. Aversi was established on 14 November, 1994. Since its establishment the company has been implementing long-term as well as short-term social projects. Our CSR projects incorporate: assistance of multiple-child families; free medical service for Olympians; free medical service for the Georgian Patriarchate; a thousand free surgeries for cataract-diseased patients; youth education care; free dinners at charity house ‘Catharsis’; medical care project for WW2 veterans; international donor’s week project; free medical examinations in mountainous areas; vouchers for retirees; internal corporate activities; a bonus system and motivation factors.
Out of the projects just listed, the majority are long-term.
Q. Why is CSR important and what are its main advantages for companies, society and the country as a whole?
A. CSR is a form of goodwill from businesses - taking extra responsibility, and satisfying higher standards of work than they are forced to by law. CSR-friendly companies act ethically, consider the needs of various public groups and contribute to the solution of social, economic and ecological problems. Healthcare is the main concern of our company. We do our best to offer qualified and cost-effective products at affordable prices. However, there is a group within our society that cannot afford high-quality products. Our social projects help us to provide proper assistance to all groups and care for their health. Providing high-quality medical products to everyone is of great importance to our company.
Q. International financial institutions have predicted 2-3% economic growth for Georgia in 2016. Will the reduced economic growth have an impact on your CSR activities this year?
A. Aversi has long-term CSR projects, which we will be continuing with in 2016. In addition, the company will implement new social projects.
Q. Since its foundation, Aversi has managed to become a trusted brand on the Georgian pharmaceutical market. What is behind the meaning of your company’s name, and in which ways have you influenced Georgian business?
A. During the founding of the company, upon the initiative of the founder, the company was named the Latin word that perfectly describes the company’s principle: non-stop and sustainable development - spiral development. Aversi’s slogan - wishing you health and peace of mind! - expresses its main goal, the company’s care for the health and safety of its customers. There are 231 pharmacy Aversi stores around the whole of the country. The company is producing 145 sorts of medicines, of 238 positions. 21 branches of Aversi clinics are operating across the country. Our insurance company is founded with 100% Georgian capital. Our company also includes Konstantine Eristavi Experimental and Clinical Surgery National Center. There are 80,000 employees working across all of the medical facilities of Aversi. We contribute dozens of millions of Lari to the state budget. Considering all of these factors Aversi has managed to show its innovation and have a positive influence on the Georgian business environment.