EconomyFinancialThe 500: Sanofi wants you to live longer... and...

The 500: Sanofi wants you to live longer… and better

Of the 76 years that, on average, Mexicans have life expectancy, at least 10 will be spent between injuries or illnesses. The most recent data from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate that the expectation of having a life in full health in the country was 65.8 years until 2019, 1.2 years more than in 2000.

It is not a strange fact. On average, people spend half their lives with poor health, including 12% of their lives in poor health, according to the report “Adding Years to Life and Life to Years,” published by McKinsey in March. in which he states that there are several health threats that are known and that remain insufficiently addressed. “Infectious diseases still account for eight million deaths per year and there are substantial unmet patient needs in oncology, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions and brain disorders.”

The implicit risk of longevity is, without a doubt, one of the greatest challenges that health systems will face and that forces pharmaceutical companies to work to accelerate innovation and guarantee patient access to highly specialized products, recognizes David Pinho , Country Head of Sanofi Mexico .

Another challenge, he says, is to improve patient adherence to their treatments in order to reduce hospitalizations and the cost they imply for the health system. “We are going to live longer and the system cannot be overloaded. As a pharmaceutical industry, we have the mission of improving adherence to treatment”, he points out.

The McKinsey report suggests that people could improve their quality of life by six years, on average, in the next decade. To achieve this, he points out, the empowerment of people as the main ‘administrators of their health’ will be crucial and suggests considering that consumer expectations are now defined by “experiences of speed, convenience, personalization and access to information”.

Sanofi in Mexico

Sanofi Mexico’s growth strategy goes along these lines. “We want to promote self-care, how to make it relevant -through doctors- for people to take care of their health,” says Eduardo Ruelas, interim general manager of Consumer Healthcare (CHC) of Sanofi Mexico, one of the four most relevant business units for French biopharmaceutical.

“In 2021 we grew in single digits, driven by strong growth in our Consumer Unit,” highlights Pinho, who is also the leader of the General Medicines unit, a business that contributes 40% of sales and includes drugs such as Aprovasc and Aprovel (blood pressure control) and Profenid (rheumatoid arthritis).

CHC’s portfolio, on the other hand, is made up of over-the-counter drugs (OTC), such as Allegra, Sinuberase and Histiacil, and, according to Ruelas, since last year it has been the leader in the segment, according to with the sector consultancy IQVIA. “In 2021 we had around 164 million euros and for this year, our goal is to be around 175 million euros, as a business unit,” says the also commercial leader of CHC for Latin America.

For this year, the company predicts a result similar to that of 2021, driven, once again, by growth above 10% in the CHC and highly specialized units. This last vertical integrates immunology, oncology and multiple sclerosis solutions, among others, and contributes 5% of revenues in Mexico; but globally it generated 36.8% of the 9,674 million euros that Sanofi sold in the first quarter of the year, 8.6% more than in the 2021 period.

Part of the formula

Sanofi has been in the country for 93 years and has three production plants, all in the State of Mexico. The largest is in Ocoyoacac and houses the company’s four divisions, but only manufactures OTC and General Medicines drugs; of the other two divisions (High Specialty and Vaccines), it only receives, prepares and distributes the orders.

The plant produces liquid products, such as Histiacil syrup and ADerogyl ampoules, and solid products (tablets), such as Neomelubrina and Buscapina, which it acquired after exchanging its animal health division, Merial, for the self-care health division (CHC). ) of Boehringer Ingelheim, in 2017. “Of everything the company sells in Mexico, 40% is manufactured on this site,” says Alfonso Martínez, director of the plant.

Between 2019 and 2021, 23 million euros were invested in the plant, about 650 million pesos. The plan for 2022 is to invest 3.9 million euros, almost 80 million pesos. It is not all. In the last three years, the company has invested 240 million euros for the production of vaccines in Mexico, including 129 million for the new Azteca plant in Cuautitlán, a public-private partnership with the Ministry of Health –through Birmex– , where it is planned to manufacture the first totally Mexican vaccine against influenza. “As of 2032, production will be 100% in the hands of the government, from beginning to end it will be totally independent,” recalls the company’s leader, David Pinho.

For this year, the firm will maintain the investments, although in a smaller proportion. It will do so in areas such as monitoring clinical studies, product launches and for digital innovation of the business model, although the company does not detail the total amount. “We are talking about smaller amounts, but very important to support the country’s health ecosystem,” concludes the manager.

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