« After all the crises I have experienced in the 33 years of the company, the pandemic crisis was different for me»
The founder of Sesderma and Mediderma laboratories, Gabriel Serrano, is a doctor in Dermatology and Venereology from the University of Valencia and has been medical director of the Clínica Dermatológica Doctor Gabriel Serrano since 1976. He graduated from the University of Valencia and was head of the Dermatology Department of the General University Hospital of Valencia for more than 25 years. The current member of the Illustrious Ramón y Cajal Academy of Health Sciences and of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology explained to LA RAZÓN how his company had to face what he describes as “one of the hardest blows he has experienced” as a result of the pandemic, but it helped him to deepen his research and find new solutions for the sector of his speciality. The effort paid off with the lactoferrin line, which has given him a great deal of satisfaction due to the excellent reception it has received.
– How did Sesderma experience the crisis brought on by the pandemic?
Almost all points of sale were closed, including pharmacies and parapharmacies in shopping centres, and we experienced a significant drop in sales. In addition, our traditional products were aimed at clinics that could not open. After all the crises I have experienced in the 33 years of the company, this one was different for me.
– How did the company adapt to the new situation?
We had to juggle to overcome the situation, and we invested in products that could reach large supermarkets and supermarkets in the pandemic, such as sanitising gel, democratising prices to reach everyone.
Online sales increased, but Spanish consumers like to try products in person, in shops. So it was the international subsidiaries that made up the losses in Spain. Meanwhile, there was a corporate restructuring here, with new managers and new hires; it was necessary. So, in 2020 we exceeded the revenues of the year 2019, and then the same thing happened the following year. Before, the big fish ate the small fish. Now, it’s the fast fish that wins.
– On a personal level, what did this crisis mean for you, and what are your reflections on it?
Looking back, I regret the lack of sensitivity during this period. We got used to seeing death tolls like goals in a football match. Many funerals could not take place, there was no consolation for the deceased or for the relatives.
However, the usual people stepped up: the doctors. I remember when we gave hundreds of thousands of masks to hospitals all over Spain, and I also remember the happy faces of the staff… They had no material in the midst of all the health chaos.
The hospitals were blocked and now they are still saturated, but the doctors accept the work even though it is extremely risky. They are in a vulnerable situation, they can encounter a lot of inconveniences.
– Did your company experience anything good from this year and a half of pandemic? Was it worth reinventing itself?
The cutting-edge research line focusing on lactoferrin started at the beginning of the pandemic. It is a protein found in breastmilk that generates an improvement in the immune system and has proven to be a global success. It has proven effective in Russia, Mexico, Brazil, and is now being studied in a large hospital in Miami.
Unfortunately, here it has been mistaken for a drug and misunderstood. We present it as a dietary supplement, not a drug. When you increase your defences, you resist respiratory, viral and bacterial infections better, but it also has implications for ageing, neuronal degenerative disorders, and a multitude of metabolic processes such as diabetes. Not only against Covid-19.
– So what is your assessment of this traumatic episode for society as a whole?
This virus kills, but so does hunger. Unemployment kills and emotional imbalance kills. Many things could have been done better in the midst of the pandemic crisis. I have seen selfishness, but also laziness and above all lack of solidarity. I thought there would be a massive mobilisation to overcome the situation as happened after the Second World War, but what happened was that everyone went their own way. I hope that people will come to their senses, think about it and do something to change things.
We must all show solidarity with the most vulnerable people in our society, and in particular, have greater respect for our elderly, who have allowed us the current situation of well-being that we have enjoyed in recent years.
Complete interview in this link: «Antes el pez grande se comía al chico. Ahora el pez más rápido es el que gana» (larazon.es)