Sanofi's Adrien Delamare-Deboutteville describes the access to innovation landscape in Morocco today, how Sanofi is aiming to bolster access in line with the country's universal healthcare transformation, and the lessons he took from his last position managing the company's Ukraine operations as war broke out.
You were managing the Sanofi Ukraine offices as war broke out across the region. How were you able to continue operating during such a challenging period?
With all Sanofi’s team in Ukraine, we made sure we were in continuous operation for the good of Ukrainian patients. We had to not think only about ourselves but for the people that needed our therapies, and this really showed the beating heart of Sanofi which is based around a strong patient first culture.
I would say that having a patient-centric focus for Sanofi put us in a strong position in Ukraine. Obviously, first and foremost we made sure that our staff and their families were safe. Market access was also a key priority as, at the end of the day, we provide medicines and do not want to add a burden of shortages on top of the burden that war brought. Furthermore, we worked closely with Foundation S (the new philanthropic organization of Sanofi, which was launched in May of 2022), which aims to make a positive impact on the lives of people and communities.
You are now in charge of Sanofi operations in Morocco, Tunisia & Libya. What were your first impressions?
From what I can see there are only positives. Morocco, for example, is implementing a nationwide universal healthcare system, which is truly amazing. Each part of the country is putting new healthcare structures in place, and we are proud to play a part in contributing to a healthcare system that will be around for generations of Moroccans. The number of Moroccans covered by some form of healthcare insurance is set to leapfrog from 22 million to 44 million people, which is a huge effort from the Kingdom in Morocco.
You took over this role in January 2023, so what has been at the top of your agenda since you commenced?
My personal sensitivity in this role is to always focus on patients’ ability to access our therapeutic solutions. Sanofi is an innovative global healthcare company with one purpose: to chase the miracles of science to improve people’s lives. We’re on course to transform the practice of medicine through breakthrough science, and to make a positive impact on the people and communities we serve. We want to be major contributors to the evolution of the healthcare ecosystem as Morocco moves towards universal healthcare. This shift is so large that not one body can implement it alone; you need the expertise of all the players to reach a successful implementation.
What is your assessment of the market access landscape in Morocco and the main challenges you face as an innovative company?
If you look at the bigger picture of market access, then levels are increasing as we are reaching larger numbers through universal healthcare coverage, so that is great. When it comes to market penetration of innovative therapies, especially those in specific areas, a large part of the population is covered. Nevertheless, there is a bigger dimension to it all, which is linked to capabilities, competencies, and infrastructure development. In some cases, innovative therapies are developed to treat unmet medical needs, and we must determine if that need is here in the Moroccan market.
Overall, in terms of market access we are improving, as mentioned earlier due to the larger numbers of patients being covered. The next step is greater integration of therapies within the healthcare system, although Morocco has already made some market leading innovations available to its patients.
What is the historic presence of Sanofi in Morocco and how important is the country for the company?
Sanofi has a long standing and pioneering presence in Morocco for more than 55 years. Our footprint is quite large here, and this means we take on a significant responsibility for the company and country. We are a local manufacturer and have a long-lasting partnership with the Kingdom of Morocco. It is an important market for Sanofi, and we have all the operations to support the local population.
Sanofi has a fully-fledged portfolio in our key therapeutic areas here in Morocco and we are always systematically looking to bring more innovation to the market so more patients can access our life-changing therapies.
Sanofi has gone through a structural transformation in recent times. How has this cascaded down to the Moroccan operations?
It brings a philosophical dimension to each of the employees as it grows the importance of the work, industry, and company we work for as we know we have a responsibility to help patients. The new strategy is built around bringing more innovation to the market, and these new therapies can be a complete life changer for whoever receives them. This approach of putting the patient first is not just a motto, but it is part of each employee and the company’s DNA.
What are some of the most important initiatives that Sanofi is undertaking in Morocco?
I would like to remind Sanofi global strategy which consists of transforming the practice of medicine through breakthrough science and making a positive impact on people and the communities we serve.
We propose to patients and the healthcare community, key medicines, vaccines, and self-care solutions across our global business units: Specialty Care, Vaccines, General Medicines, and Consumer Healthcare. Sanofi aims to become a leading company in immunology and positively impact millions of patients suffering from dermatological, respiratory, gastroenterological, and other immune-mediated diseases.
In Morocco, we work closely with healthcare professionals, patient advocates, government, and industry so we can have a relevant and a useful impact.
We also focus on the social impact via dedicated access programs. In childhood cancer, Sanofi launched the My Child Matters (MCM) program in 2005 to support children with cancer and their families. MCM aims to improve diagnosis, access to cancer care, treatment adherence and strengthen health systems in low- and middle-income countries (Morocco included).
We also work closely with the Moroccan Ministry of Health to implement the KiDS initiative. This is an initiative launched in 2013 to foster a school environment that creates better understanding of diabetes and supports children with diabetes through a range of resources. KiDS targets children (aged 6-14), parents, teachers, school doctors, policymakers, and government official.
Outside the programs for children, what other initiatives have you put in place?
In 2018, we created the Sanofi Diabetes Research Works in Morocco, aimed at improving biomedical research in diabetes. We suggested all physicians working in clinical trials to interact with concrete research to improve the management of the disease. With this program, we have had research published in international diabetes publications, and are working on it closely with the Moroccan Diabetes Society and Ministry of Education.
The pharmaceutical industry in Morocco has many players, meaning that recruiting the best staff is competitive. How are you attempting to position Sanofi as a preferred option?
The principal step is to build a sense of purpose as people today want their jobs to have a positive impact on the community and society at large. Secondly, if you are extremely respectful to your colleagues, they will act as the best voice to show the world why Sanofi is a great place to work and build a career.
I would also like to mention two more elements. Sanofi has been in Morocco since 1965, so it is a well-established affiliate and one of the first big companies to enter the country. We have a very positive employer brand. To give you a concrete and recent example: since 2021, Sanofi, grant all new parents 14 weeks of paid leave to welcome a new child into their lives. Regardless of country, gender, any employee (Mothers and fathers) can benefit.
Having been with Sanofi for over a decade, what keeps you engaged and motivated working for the company?
When you have had the opportunity to fulfil your professional curiosity and experience so many great achievements, you know you are in the right place. Sanofi has offered me this, and if you are curious enough you can grow in the organisation. Having the ability to pursue personal development is a motivating factor for me. Furthermore, Sanofi is a company built on trust and this fits well into my values, both personally and professionally. Also, as a company we are always working collectively across the globe towards the same goals, and this is a very important factor for such a large company.
What would you have liked to achieve when we return and speak again in the future?
We want to make sure that Sanofi and the entire pharmaceutical industry is a critical player in the development of the Moroccan universal healthcare system, as this is a generational shift. Sanofi hopes to bring the right level of expert knowledge and know-how to bear and become a major part of this revolution in Moroccan healthcare.