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The Warsaw Voice » National Voice » April 28, 2011
Hungary in Poland
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Recipe for Success
April 28, 2011   
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Hungarian pharmaceutical group Gedeon Richter is marking its 110 years in existence this year. Gedeon Richter has for years been a leading pharmaceutical producer in Central and Eastern Europe. In Poland, it is represented by two companies: Gedeon Richter Marketing Polska, managed by László Nemes, and Gedeon Richter Polska with a manufacturing site and research and development center in Grodzisk Mazowiecki, managed by Tomasz Németh.

László Nemes, president of Gedeon Richter Marketing Polska, talks to Ewa Hancock.

Do you think that the special relations between Hungary and Poland play a role in business?
I believe that personal relations and the knowledge of each other’s cultures may produce good results in business as well. Especially in the case of our nations, which have so many common past and present ties. The key to our joint success is dedication, the ability to draw on Gedeon Richter’s long history and tradition, and above all emphasis on constant development.

In 2010, at the 20th Economic Forum in the Polish mountain resort of Krynica, you received the prestigious Company of the Year title in the CE Top 500 league table of the best companies in Central Europe. What criteria were taken into account in awarding the title?
It was a great honor to us. The CE Top 500 league table of the largest companies in Central Europe is compiled by consultants Deloitte and the Polish daily Rzeczpospolita. We are additionally proud of the fact that the decision on who will receive the title is made by well-known economists and businesspeople, among them Jan Krzysztof Bielecki, chairman of the prime minister’s economic council, Henryka Bochniarz, president of the Polish Confederation of Private Employers, Jaroslav Hascak, partner at Penta Investments, and Jerzy Hausner, former deputy prime minister and economy minister. The award for the best company in Central Europe was granted for the first time last year—Gedeon Richter was chosen from among 500 leading firms.

The CE Top 500 Index of Success 2010 award was granted on the basis of both financial and non-financial criteria. The award is proof that Gedeon Richter had made the right choice regarding its strategies and instruments needed to pursue them.

What kind of pharmaceuticals does Gedeon Richter produce?
The company’s product range is very broad, but special emphasis is placed on comprehensive healthcare and preventive healthcare for women. Gedeon Richter was the first company to produce an oral contraceptive pill more than 50 years ago. Another important field and target for further development works is the therapy of the central nervous system, where we have ongoing research activity on innovative products. For future introduction we invest in the development of biotechnology medicines mostly used in cancer treatment.

Additionally, Gedeon Richter is constantly expanding the range of its cardiac drugs, for the treatment of most widespread “civilization” deseases of the heart.

Tomasz Németh, president of Gedeon Richter Polska, talks to Ewa Hancock.

Can you tell us about Gedeon Richter’s history in Poland?
Gedeon Richter is one of the few pharmaceutical companies which started operating in the 19th century. Poland is a country where the group sees large potential for development. Gedeon Richter has been present on the Polish market since 1994 when it started to operate under the name of Polskie Przedstawicielstwo Gedeon Richter Plc. Gedeon Richter Marketing Polska Sp. z o.o. was set up in 2009 as a result of the merger between Polskie Przedstawicielstwo Gedeon Richter Plc. and the marketing and sales division of the former pharmaceutical company in Grodzisk Mazowiecki—Grodziskie Zakłady Farmaceutyczne Polfa Sp. z o.o.

Until 2009 the Grodzisk-based subsidiary of Gedeon Richter operated on the market as Grodziskie Zakłady Farmaceutyczne Polfa Sp. z o.o. The crucial moment for the pharmaceutical plant was 2002 when Polfa, after privatization, became a member of the Richter Gedeon group. The company in Grodzisk Mazowiecki is one of the most experienced pharmaceutical producers in Poland. It was set up in 1885 and, operating for more than 120 years, has won recognition from the medical community and confidence among patients. To sum up, the Gedeon Richter group has been operating in Poland for over 17 years and employs around 1,000 people.

The pharmaceutical plant in Grodzisk is one of the most modern manufacturing sites in Poland. Why?
Gedeon Richter Polska has modern research, production and storage divisions and uses safe and modern production equipment. The facility has been designed in such a way so as to enable the expansion of production processes and capacity in the future while at the same time ensuring the necessary level of safety. A pilot plant, one of the most modern facilities of this kind in Poland, has also been completed. Another important project carried out in recent years is a warehouse for finished dosage forms. The modern warehouse meets GMP requirements associated with the storage and distribution of pharmaceutical products. Special emphasis has been placed on providing the facility with modern security systems, a system monitoring temperature and humidity and an access control system. Additionally, we have a division for the research and development of generic drugs in Grodzisk.

What is the long-term strategy for the development of the group?
Poland, alongside the United States, Russia and Ukraine, is a key market for the group because the economic environment in Central and Eastern Europe is relatively stable. Additionally, Poland has the largest internal markets of all the countries in Central Europe and is one of the most important export markets. We want to strengthen our position. The strategy has been clear since the beginning—to keep pace with the spirit of the times, not be afraid of innovation and use the best technological solutions.
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