July / August 2021

ISPE Iberia Affiliate: Coming Together for Training & Support

Marcy Sanford
ISPE Iberia Affiliate: Coming Together for Training & Support

The pharmaceutical industry in Spain and Portugal is growing, and the ISPE Iberia Affiliate—which has merged the Spain and Portugal Affiliates to take advantage of synergies between the two Affiliates—is working to train and support this expanding market.

With a population of 46 million, Spain is one of the largest European Union (EU) economies and the Spanish pharmaceutical industry is among the top four in the EU in total drug sales volume. It also ranks fifth in the EU in pharmaceutical production and fourth in the EU in laboratories.1  Portugal, with a population of more than 10 million, also has an expanding and growing pharmaceutical industry, especially in biotech.2 In 2008 several Portuguese research institutes, along with health authorities, universities, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies, formed the Health Cluster Portugal, which has worked to strengthen Portugal in the research, design, development, manufacture, and marketing of health-related products and services.3 . This is a testament to the importance of the pharmaceutical industry in Portugal.

A Growing Industry

Collectively, the pharmaceutical industry in Spain and Portugal generates 230,000 jobs, with more than 5,000 professionals working in research and development. Some of the top pharmaceutical companies in the region include Bayer Hispania SL, Grifols, S.A., Bioibérica S.A.U., Laboratorios Liconsa SAU, Kern Pharma SL, MSD, Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd., Sanofi S.A., AstraZeneca, Novartis Farma SpA, and GlaxoSmithKline plc. 4 ,5

“National pharmaceutical companies are growing in both countries,” said the ISPE Iberia Affiliate President Alfred Terés, Advisory Director, Aseptic Mind. “International companies are also investing in the region with more facilities specializing and focusing on specific products, especially injectables. Companies focused on high value products and animal health pharmaceutical companies are seeing more growth than companies dedicated to generics or low-cost pharmaceutical products.”

Because of the industry growth, and thanks to interest from Portuguese ISPE members, in 2019 the Spain Affiliate (founded in 2007) started discussing the possibility of establishing an ISPE Affiliate that would include members from both countries. “We realize that Portugal and Spain have many synergies,” said Terés. “We decided that the best solution was to merge into one Affiliate with two country-specific committees. Each committee promotes activities in their country in their own language but we allow the members in Portugal or Spain to participate globally in the activities of both. Since COVID-19, most of our activities have been virtual. This has made it easier to share activities across multiple regions. Depending on the topic and experts involved, sessions may be in Portuguese, Spanish, or English.”

Affiliate Goals

The main goals of the Iberia Affiliate are to create a training program for new pharmaceutical professionals and provide a place for members to ask questions and exchange knowledge and experience as well as offer information about developing industry standards. Terés said training initiatives are being led by the Affiliate in both countries. “In Portugal we started a pilot program where senior members of the Affiliate train new professionals in the pharmaceutical industry in different knowledge areas. In Spain we are working with other training programs. We will evaluate the pros and cons of each and come up with one program that combines the best practices of both.”

Despite the challenge of creating a new Affiliate while people in both countries have been on lock down, members of the Iberia Affiliate were able to organize a robust offering of webinars and training in 2020 and 2021 including ones on Pharma 4.0™, GAMP®, Annex 1, water for injection (WFI), and single-use technology versus standard systems. Like most people around the world, Iberia Affiliate members began using teleconferencing platforms for meetings and conferences. Terés said that has actually expanded the exchange of information options between people in the two countries. “Using conference tools has made it easier to share activities in multiple regions. We have been able to offer a lot of different programs and webinars including programs to allow members to share their experiences and changes inside the pharmaceutical industry due to COVID and the measures they have implemented to continue working.”

Terés said the Iberia Affiliate has expanded the network, knowledge, and opportunities for all members. “ISPE is a meeting point. Being a member allows you to learn, to share experiences, to meet professionals carrying on similar job positions. The Affiliate helps you to grow professionally, gives you a better understanding of different points of view on a topic, gives you the knowledge to improve your skills, and helps you to stay updated on what is happening in the industry.”

Learn More

Quick Facts about the ISPE Iberia Affiliate

  • Founded: 2007 (Spain Affiliate)
  • Name: Changed to Iberia Affiliate in 2020
  • Region: Spain and Portugal
  • Membership: 184


  • Chair: Alfred Teres, Aseptic Mind (Spain)
  • Vice Chair: Amjad Wahbeh, Hikma Farmaceutica S.A. (Portugal)
  • Secretary: Diego Rodríguez, Lonza AG (Spain)
  • Emerging Leaders: Beatriz Sacristán, Pfizer (Spain)
  • Treasurer: Carlos Maestro Linares, Azbil Telstar Technologies, SLU (Spain)
  • Affiliate Manager: Judith Martin (Spain)


  • Rosário Fonseca, Generis Farmaceutica S.A. (Aurobindo Group)
  • Flavio Kawakami, Doctorbit Educação
  • Ricardo Grilo, Laboratorios Atral SA
  • Ricardo Girão, TELSTAR Portugal


  • Ignacio Alonso, Johnson & Johnson
  • Daniel Ballarin, BAYER
  • Jose Ramón Martínez, Asesoria Y Validacio Sl
  • Ana Maqueda, Pfizer
  • Cristina Mazó, GP Pharm
  • Juan Medina, Toivoa Pharma
  • Alicia Tebar, QbD Pharmaceutical Services SL
  • Marta Malo de Molina, Takeda