Yaneth Giha, Executive President, FIFARMA, finds and implements solutions to enhance patient outcomes. She discusses the Association’s focus and mission, and the key changes to look out for in the Latin America market.
April 2023 | Volume 20 | No.4
1. Could you tell our readers a bit about your background and how you came to join FIFARMA?
I am an economist, with a master’s degree in political studies and another one in war studies. I worked for almost 25 years in various sectors of the Colombian Government, including defense and security, science and technology, and education. I had leadership roles – as Vice Minister of Defense and Minister of Education – that allowed me to serve and engage in my country’s main issues.
After leaving the Government in 2019, I was offered the position of Executive President at AFIDRO – the pharmaceutical research and design (R&D) industry association in Colombia. Over the course of more than three years, I gained a deep understanding of the challenges faced by the industry and collaborated with stakeholders to develop initiatives that could have a positive impact on the lives of patients. After those years in AFIDRO, I was offered the opportunity to join FIFARMA, the association representing the pharmaceutical industry in Latin America.
2. Can you tell us more about FIFARMA and its mission?
FIFARMA is the Latin American Federation of Pharmaceutical Companies. We bring together local associations and leading research and development pharmaceutical companies. At FIFARMA, patients are the centre of everything we do and we are committed to improving their lives through collaboration with stakeholders in the region. Our mission is to establish FIFARMA as a key player in the healthcare industry in Latin America by working closely with both public and private actors to co-create solutions that enhance patient outcomes
3. What does your current role involve, and what are your favorite aspects of this role?
As Executive Director of FIFARMA, I am always in direct contact with our members and stakeholders in the health sectors of the region’s countries. Connecting is our keyword. With a strategy being set, I am permanently monitoring the implementation of all the projects that we have committed to developing. Finding solutions and creating answers to the main issues of our sector is not always easy but so important, and it is what I like the most.
4. Have you introduced any changes to the Association since you took on the role, and if so, why?
There have been many changes. Since May 2022, when I assumed the role, our members gave us a mandate: to strengthen the organisation and to define a new strategy.
Finding solutions and creating answers to the main issues of our sector is not always easy but so important, and it is what I like the most.
With that direct mandate, we have developed a new strategy, we have redefined our governing bodies and we have even been able to grow our team. We have an important objective: to be an active player in the health sector of the region. That objective requires a lot of energy and work from our side.
5. What have been some of FIFARMA’s key successes to date? What have you been most proud of?
We work in a sector that has an incredible mission which is to innovate for life and for a better quality of life. I feel proud of working in a sector with a mission that transcends . I feel proud of the robust strategy that we have created, the energy that we have been putting into every activity, and the teamwork that has been able to create all this.
6. Could you highlight some important developments around the regulatory environment in Latin America which our readers should be aware of?
Discussions around the adoption of reliance mechanisms, and the implementation of good regulatory practices recommended by WHO have increased during the last two years.
We work in a sector that has an incredible mission which is to innovate for life and for a better quality of life.
More frequently, we see how our national regulatory agencies work to strengthen the regulatory systems in close collaboration with relevant reference authorities. Work-sharing and pharmacovigilance sanitary regulations have also been improved or adopted in some countries to benefit the patients of the region.
7. What do you think will be the most important issues your members will face in the future?
We are faced with many changes and the future will bring some more. As human beings, we resist change. There is a big opportunity in understanding what our region is facing and developing new approaches. We don´t grow as organisations if we are not able to use this momentum to engage better and engage more.
8. And finally, on a more personal note, what book are you currently reading?
The Values Factor, written by John Demartini. It is a great book to define your mission in life and to understand others.