10 years ago, in 2010, Chiesi Farmaceutici SA decided to invest in Belgium and open an affiliate based in Brussels. This was not an easy decision and there were risks; the Belgium pharmaceutical context was complex and did not always reward innovation. However, 10 years later we can say it paid off - even if the pharmaceutical context has not improved and it remains difficult for a mid-sized company to survive in the challenging Belgian environment. Today, Chiesi Belgium has a positive impact on the life of thousands of patients and their families. We are looking into the future with confidence to turn the challenges ahead of us into success.
Back in 2010 our organization counted 25 people in an office in Haren, Brussels. Thanks to sustained growth we outgrew our offices and Chiesi Belgium moved to a new headquarter. Today we are an organization with around 85 colleagues and a turnover of € 40 million. Chiesi Belgium was rewarded 3 times the Trends Gazelle, a nomination for the fastest growing companies that have a positive impact on the business environment in the region. Currently we are considered as the reference in each therapeutic area we are active in and we are regarded as a trusted partner by the Belgian healthcare professionals and authorities. Chiesi Belgium can be proud of where it stands today.
What’s the magic formula for this success? This could not have been possible without the hard work of all our talented colleagues. It is a mix of our entrepreneurial- and team spirit, combined with the ambition to be the best and the dedication to succeed, topped with a strong dose of resilience. Our best in class products, proximity to our stakeholders and the strong support from our headquarters haven been the additional keys to our success. Together we wrote the Chiesi Belgium story leading to an organization with a strong and unique culture, called the ‘Chiesi Spirit’. The ‘Chiesi spirit’ is the atmosphere of camaraderie prevailing in our company and the mentality to work for each other and for the patient.
Was it always easy? As you might expect, it wasn’t. Belgium is not an easy country for a pharmaceutical midsized company to operate in. The constant pressure on prices, during reimbursement negotiations and after market access is creating additional barriers for companies to bring innovations to patients. Other barriers are, among others, the tax on turnover paid primarily by the innovative pharmaceutical industry. The covid-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of the innovative pharma-industry and of investing in primary care. We hope that in 10 years from now the Belgian pharmaceutical context will be based on predictability, a renewed focus on and investments in primary care and optimal use of medicines. We are taking up an active role in shaping this future environment.
As an industry we need also to adapt to the challenges we are facing today. Telemedicine and digital ways of working have become increasingly important during the Covid-19 crisis. We will as an organization rapidly adapt ourselves to this new normal and ensure we are future-proof. It’s an important challenge and an opportunity we will seize.
How does the future look like for Chiesi Belgium? For sure bright, successful, and prosperous. Chiesi Belgium will be a pioneer of a new generation of companies based on a new business model, in addition to the objective of generating profit we will also pursue the goal of making a positive impact on society and the environment. In doing so we will be one of the Benefit Corporation leaders in Belgium. Our employees, our most important asset, deserve to flourish in a Great Place to Work. We want to improve the lives of patients living with COPD and asthma by putting them in the center of everything we do. Climbing For Life, our yearly cycling happening together with respiratory patients, will continue to be our flagship event. We want to realize the full potential of our special care and rare disease portfolio and become a respected player in this field. We know we have the potential and we can count on the support of our HQ to reach these ambitious goals. We are ready to embrace the future and change the Belgian healthcare environment for the benefit of patients.
One thing will not change in ten years from now: the Chiesi Spirit, believing that you can make every dream reality !
Geert Van Hoof – General Manager Chiesi Belgium since 2010