Drawing on a quarter of a century of pharmaceutical industry experience, over 20 years of which has been spent in the UAE, Ayman Mokhtar today heads up Middle East, North Africa and Eurasia operations for Viatris. A global healthcare company with a broad range of products, Viatris is continually working to build sustainable access to healthcare, ever more important as we are on the road to COP 28, taking place later this year in the UAE.


Healthcare does not exist in a bubble and must adapt to the global challenges facing all industries and populations. Along these lines, Mokhtar, an active board member in various regional trade associations, has been advocating for greater awareness of the impact of climate change on healthcare. “As more frequent fires, floods and storms batter the environment; these ravaged places become hostile to human life,” he says. “Indiscriminate pressure on infrastructure and support systems can severely limit access to health. The result? Millions of deaths, billions of dollars in lost productivity and GDP and more broken lives than we can count because access to health is unattainable.”


Access is central to everything we do

Ayman Mokhtar, Viatris


While acknowledging that certain elements are beyond the control of a single company or industry, Mokhtar is keen to emphasise that Viatris leverages its collective expertise to empower people worldwide to live healthier at every stage of life, through sustainable operations and recognizing that all actions affect the stakeholders and communities we serve. This includes a global commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and various water conservation and stewardship initiatives. Most importantly, it means an unwavering commitment to access that Mokhtar characterises as “sustainably delivering high-quality medicines and health solutions at scale to people, regardless of geography or circumstance.”


Access is a hot topic across the industry but holds particular resonance for a company with the mission and scalability of Viatris. After all, Viatris in 2022 provided over 80 billion doses of medicines to serve approximately one billion patients. Viatris does so across more than 165 countries and territories, reaching about 90 percent of lower- and middle-income countries.


Mokhtar outlines the Viatris contribution to better access as: “With an extensive portfolio of medicines to meet a large array of health-related needs in a holistic way, a one-of-a-kind global supply chain designed to reach more people with health solutions when and where they need them, and the scientific expertise to address some of the world’s most enduring health challenges, access is central to everything we do.”


Looking forward, Mokhtar identifies three key trends which – if both public and private sector stakeholder partners – have the potential to positively transform access to healthcare in both developed and developing countries. “The first one is sustainability,” he begins. “The big question we are working to address is further building sustainable access to healthcare in line with emerging innovation, growing costs and budget constraints, while maintaining our social and environmental responsibility.”


He continues, “The second key trend is digital transformation, or ‘virtual healthcare’. All stakeholders need to think about how digitalisation can improve everything from R&D to at-home diagnostics, and online patient education.”


“Finally, there is no health without mental health, and vice versa. Especially post-pandemic, this has become unquestionably apparent with mental health and wellbeing rocketing up consumers’ and patients’ priority lists.”


While there is clearly work still to be done on all three points, Mokhtar is hopeful that – spearheaded by healthcare companies like Viatris – a more sustainable and accessible healthcare system for all can be created.