A Pioneering Female Pharma Executive in PH

Sofia Alberto Lista, a mother of three, expects steady growth in the pharmaceutical compounding industry in the Philippines as more and more Filipino patients now require personalized medicines to meet their specific needs.

Apotheca Integrative Pharmacy co-founder and CEO Sofia Lista

Lista, co-founder and CEO of Apotheca Integrative Pharmacy, sees this as an opportunity to strive for growth and bring modern solutions to the healthcare industry.

AIP also hopes to encourage more Filipinos to embrace masterful medicine as a modern solution that can be tailored to their needs. AIP is considered the nation’s first stand-alone pharmacy that works with physicians, patients, and hospitals nationwide, specializing in compounded and personalized medications.

“This separates us from your typical retail community pharmacy that also does compounding in a few dosage forms such as diluting powdered suspensions and paper tablet preparations, and hospital-based compounding pharmacies that typically only service their registered patients,” says Lista.

AIP offers nine therapeutic categories using US Pharmacopeia-grade active ingredients and provides flexibility for physicians and their patients regarding formula database and customization requirements.

“As specialty compounders, we do not offer ready-to-use branded or generic medications in our pharmacy, with the exception of healthy, natural snacks and products in our retail space. Earlier this year, we’re proud to be the first to launch typesetting services on an e-commerce platform through our all-new website, giving us more meaningful online engagement with our customers,” says Lista, who co-founded AIP with her husband Richard in 2014.

“What really sets us apart from pharmaceutical companies or other healthcare companies is our focus on personalized medicines produced by prescription and by patient, whereas most companies focus on medicines produced and manufactured in series or on other types of products,” says Lista.

Pharmaceutical composition has always been an integral part of pharmaceutical history, she says. It is the art and the science of combining and preparing personalized medicines for patients. According to the prescription, the active ingredients are mixed according to the identified dosage form and concentration.

Pioneer

Lista says AIP, as a pioneer in the Philippines, provides greater access to pharmaceutical compounding and the flexibility of customization to the medical and patient communities to meet unique needs. “It becomes essential in the health sector because we are helping to fill the void to meet these needs, while commercially available drugs do not,” she says.

“Since 2014, we have served over 1,300 physicians, 13,000 patients, and received patient referrals from over 80 hospitals across the country,” Lista explains.

AIP works with different medical practitioners – from cosmetic and general dermatologists, internists, functional and integrative practitioners, OB gynecologists, urologists to pediatricians and family medicine practitioners. The three main practitioner markets served by AIP are those of aesthetics, internal medicine and family medicine.

Besides AIP, three are three other compounding pharmacies in the country. “Together we are building a small sub-industry within the retail pharmacy industry. This motivates us to continue to focus on improving and expanding our services and operations to continue providing service. quality to our customers,” says Lista.

Business start-up

AIP was conceived in 2012, when her husband Richard was struggling to source quality compound medicines prescribed for his parents, and there was simply no entity capable of supplying locally.

“Finding them meant spending more to find them abroad and bring them back to the country. After two years of planning, consulting and business process applications, AIP opened its doors in 2014 in Makati City, achieving the milestone of becoming the nation’s first Food and Drug Administration-approved compounding pharmacy,” Sofia says.

AIP, which now has 35 employees, looks forward to continuing its work on improving product offerings, channel and logistics network, collaborative educational programs for physicians and seeing through the transparency of a new site. website.

AIP works hand-in-hand with physicians, patients and licensed pharmacists who have been trained overseas in drug preparation. They collaborate with international partners such as the Professional Compounding Centers of America and Medisca Australia.

Each of the compound drugs is also manufactured with United States Pharmacopeia grade active ingredients to ensure customers get high quality products.

AIP has partnered with over 300 healthcare providers nationwide and is proud to be affiliated with several healthcare organizations in the Philippines including Atrium Solutions Inc., Spectrum Innovations Inc., Klean Athlete Philippines and Reviv Philippines to provide medical solutions to patients and physicians. from different parts of the Philippines.

Lista is optimistic about the outlook for the industry. “Three years from now, I see our pharmacy expansion coming to fruition as the demand for compound drugs continues to grow locally. It will be an important moment for us,” she said.

To further strengthen AIP’s presence in the market and continue to provide personalized medicines, the company launched the country’s first online compounding pharmacy this year.

Challenges

The AIP has proven the importance of personalized medicines amid the pandemic. “We were up and running all the time, adapting to the challenges we faced in global supply chain issues, local lockdowns and Covid-19 related exposures,” she says.

At the height of the pandemic in 2020, AIP was able to introduce a new category of compound nutraceuticals (vitamins and minerals) and was one of the first to offer the combination of vitamin C, D3 and zinc in varying doses in a capsule.

The pandemic has also opened the doors for the company to strengthen its position as a “telepharmacy”, providing products and services remotely in various forms of telecommunications technologies.

“It wasn’t easy, but what held us steady was our ability to focus on the things we could control, to strive for constant communication and alignment with our staff and customers. , and to choose to invest heavily in the name of safety and continuous service,” explains Lista.

Family matters

Work-life balance is important in managing family and business, she says.

“I am a mother of three children [1 in high school and 2 in grade school]says Lista, who completed her MBA at AIM in 2021.

“Working with your life partner in a demanding and serious professional environment can of course be difficult. To really manage it, what has been a good approach for me is to have a clear understanding with Richard, what our priorities when it comes to our kids and our home, surrounding ourselves with people we can trust and who can support us in the office and at home, and making sure our time management is under control,” she says. .

“Time flies so fast, so activities with the kids, like movies, walking in UP or doing yoga together, are important. Work-life balance and decompression are key. Ultimately, I am honored and feel privileged to work in a fulfilling health services environment that allows me to grow both personally and professionally, as a team player and leader,” she says.

Lista, who studied at Miriam College, the Ateneo Graduate School of Business and the Asian Institute of Management, is spearheading an educational campaign on compound medicine to enlighten more professionals, health and business stakeholders. public about compound treatment solutions.

About Margie Peters

Check Also

My day: Grainne Hughes, Almac Pharma Services

At 8am, I’m in my car and already halfway from the office to Almac’s headquarters …