One of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, Sanofi-Aventis engages in research, development, manufacture, and marketing in the medical field. They operate in more than 100 countries and have a focus on chronic diseases. Sanofi boasts a commitment to the health of earth’s inhabitants, and in Jordan is rapidly growing to meet the needs of Jordanian citizens. Venture spoke with Sanofi’s Country Manager for Jordan and Palestine, Rami Nassar, to learn more about Sanofi’s operation in Jordan, the country’s medical and pharmaceutical markets, and the future of Sanofi in Jordan.
How long has Sanofi been operating in Jordan, and what inspired the decision to enter the Jordanian market?
In 1962 the Jordanian Market was evolving. Sanofi seized the opportunity and started operations in Amman to meet the needs of Jordanian healthcare professionals and their patients.
Sanofi-Aventis was formed in 2004 when Sanofi-Synthélabo acquired Aventis. Both companies were each the product of several previous mergers.
Aventis, for instance, is the result of a merger in 1999 between Hoechst AG and the French chemical and pharmaceutical company Rhône-Poulenc. At the time, the latter included the pharmaceutical businesses Rorer.
Eventually, Sanofi-Synthélabo, Hoechst, Rhône-Poulenc and Rorer came together to create Sanofi-Aventis accumulating over a century of experience in healthcare, with a main focus on innovation to answer patients’ needs and meet communities’ evolution.
What made the Jordanian health sector attractive to Sanofi?
Jordan has quite an advanced health care system. The country was ranked by the World Bank as the number one healthcare service provider in the region and among the top five in the world. The sector is strong, well-structured, meeting international standards in terms of quality service, accreditations, world-class hospitals, research centers, local experts and specialized treatment facilities for diabetes, infertility and cardiovascular diseases. All these factors won Jordan an excellent reputation attracting patients from across the MENA region.
What criteria did you use for choosing which sectors of the health market to enter into, and which products to make available in Jordan?
Like many countries, Jordan suffers from the burden of chronic diseases due to the prevalence of obesity, poor diet, and physical inactivity. Almost 14% of the population is diabetic, and more than 40% suffer from hypertension, resulting in a high percentage of disease problems.
To help healthcare professionals, service providers and their patients, Sanofi offers a range of Diabetes treatments including Insulin, Oral antidiabetic drug, and anti-hypertensive as well as anti-coagulants medicine.
Does Sanofi undertake research and manufacturing in Jordan, or is the presence a strictly commercial one?
In line with the strategy to partner with local firms and the fact that the market is well-established in the pharmaceutical industry, Sanofi collaborated with United Pharmaceutical in 2011 for the research and packaging of 12 products.
This project was a pilot partnership, an example to be followed by other international pharmaceutical companies and local ones.
How do you view competition from local drug manufacturers?
Jordan’s pharmaceutical industry enjoys an outstanding reputation. Some products are even registered and sold in over 60 countries in Europe and North America including the USA. Jordan has more than 17 pharmaceutical manufacturers – a relatively big number for such a small market, thus leading to fierce competition, but also offering a wide variety of choices for patients.
What, in your view, has Sanofi brought to the Jordanian market?
Sanofi plays a major role in supporting the sector with its medical education programs for healthcare professionals, continuous scientific activities and awareness campaigns for various diseases. Also part of its corporate social responsibility initiative, Sanofi supports communities in Jordan with numerous approaches, such as the Antibiotic donation to Al Za’atri camps and free of charge medicine for rare diseases in cooperation with the Ministry of health.
Did you face any major challenges since establishing a presence in the Jordanian market? If so, how have you overcome them?
Well, there are no exceptional challenges we have to deal with, but rather usual ones caused by market fluctuations and regional political instability that puts pressure on the Jordanian economy.
Despite all challenges, we managed to provide our patients with a continuous supply of medicine.
Where do you see Sanofi’s Jordanian presence in the coming 5 years?
A prosperous future is ahead for Sanofi in Jordan: We are planning to introduce new innovative products to the market including treatments for Multiple Sclerosis and Anti Hyperlipidemia, and expand our Diabetes product portfolio.
This is part eight of a nine-piece story. Other pieces include: