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Q Solutions:
The Value of Local Knowledge in Pharmaceutical Marketing


Ellen Lerek from Q Solutions, a sponsor company attending the marcus evans Emerging Pharmarkets Summit 2011, on successful pharmaceutical product marketing in emerging markets.

Interview with: Ellen Lerek, President & Chief Executive Officer, Q Solutions


“Never forget the value of the local culture when marketing pharmaceutical products in emerging countries,” says Ellen Lerek, President & Chief Executive Officer, Q Solutions. “It is not as simple as fitting the global to the local. We have to respect the local culture and see how it matches with our business.”

From a sponsor company attending the marcus evans Emerging Pharmarkets Summit 2011, in Cannes, France, 23 - 25 March, Lerek discusses pharmaceutical marketing and brand loyalty in emerging countries, and matching the local culture to the business culture.

How does pharmaceutical product marketing differ in emerging markets?

Ellen Lerek: Emerging markets are two or three steps behind developed markets, such as Europe or North America. As they are often highly populated, there are lots of business opportunities for international players to take advantage of. However, there is a lot less regulation on prescriptions and more self medication, so they have to play an active role in educating the public, implementing regulations and influencing the doctor-patient relationship.

In Latin America for example, it is a challenge to teach the public about the benefits of preventative medicine and how to respect medication prescriptions. Another difficulty is that there are so many options and players that it makes large companies sensitive to developing personal relationships with patient and doctors, directed at addressing their needs and requests.

How important is local knowledge?

Ellen Lerek: Local knowledge means understanding the local culture, government practices and how to deal with local employees. Specifically in relation to the pharmaceutical market, this translates into understanding the idiosyncracies of the Latin American patient, his relationship with his physician, the local prescriptive habits and dominant diseases in the region, for example, diabetes, that differ dramatically from European and US markets. It also means understanding how the local culture blends in with the global culture of the company. This is essential in emerging markets. All of this has to be very well respected and fused with each other. Local and global have to become equal, otherwise product launches and the overall success of the company will be threatened. .

To summarise, entry into Latin America presupposes a need to respect the local culture, market and economy. In other words “tropicalize” - a key issue to keep in mind when operating in emerging markets. It is not just a simple task of fitting the global to the local.

How do you establish brand loyalty in new markets?

Ellen Lerek: Establishing brand loyalty is not very different in emerging countries – it is a universal market concept. What must be considered first is the level of product loyalty, as there is product loyalty and brand loyalty on the corporate level. It is important to understand how international companies are viewed in emerging markets – often very highly regarded – but at the same time, brand loyalty has to be implemented as a corporate brand for all the products. Establishing brand loyalty at the corporate level should be the first priority, which will in time trickle down to individual products in all categories.

Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian
Press Manager
marcus evans, Summits Division
Tel: + 357 22 849 313

About the Emerging Pharmarkets Summit 2011

This unique forum will take place at the Majestic Barrière Hotel, Cannes, France, 23 - 25 March 2011. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The summit includes presentations on securing market access in difficult areas, safeguarding intellectual property in new territories and compiling tailor-made products for each market’s different needs.

For more information please send an email to or visit the event website at 

marcus evans group - life sciences / pharma sector portal

Please note that the summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.

About marcus evans Summits

marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world’s leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, think tanks, seminars and one-to-one business meetings. For more information, please visit 

About Q Solutions

Q Solutions is a full service independent marketing research firm, based in Mexico City with 20 years of experience offering QUALITATIVE and QUANTITATIVE solutions throughout the entire Latin American region.
Specialization in both pharmaceutical and consumer areas offering a personalized approach with Senior Management involvement in every project

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