French pharmaceutical major Sanofi, which has a presence in India since 1956, has entered its first public health initiative in the country to address the incidence of diabetes among children in schools.

Sanofi’s KiDS (Kids and Diabetes in Schools) is a joint initiative with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI). Targeted at children with Type 1 diabetes, it aims to encourage a safe and supportive school environment to manage diabetes, and aims to raise awareness on Diabetes (Type 1 and 2) and benefits of healthy nutrition and exercise habits among school children.

Addressing a press conference, Chris Viehbacher, CEO, Sanofi, said, “As a global leader in diabetes care, we focus on bringing real benefits to people with diabetes, not just providing a comprehensive portfolio of treatments and innovative patient-friendly devices but also accompanying them in their daily life”. The project will kick-off with schools in the New Delhi region.

Sir Michael Hirst, President, IDF, said, “Diabetes is now a pandemic and it has been estimated that 370 million people are diabetic and another 290 million people are pre-diabetic with 80 per cent of them in developing countries. India has the second highest incidence with 63 million Type 2 diabetics and 6 million Type 1 diabetics.’’

Sanofi feels India ready for differentiated prices for drugs.

Sanofi is keen on acquisitions in emerging markets, including India and in the recent past, has grown inorganically here having bought Shantha Biotech in 2009, the over-the-counter business of Universal Medicines in 2011 and Dosch’s Animal Health business in 2012. Mr. Viehbacher refused comment on reports of Sanofi buying Elder Pharma’s formulation business. “India had a strong pharmaceutical heritage. The vaccines business of Shantha was attractive for us and after acquisition, we invested a further $150 million in it,” he said.

The company is looking at differentiated prices for a product between countries and differentiated prices for it within a country. Sanofi follows a differential pricing for its malaria medicine made in Morocco. “There is a generic version and branded version. But there have to be distinct channels and this model will work for essential drugs. It is important to separate access from innovation. India is well placed in terms of innovation and the dialogue on access must continue”.

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