Can you provide some background into Sanofi's operations in Nigeria since entering the market?
Sanofi is a global biopharmaceutical and healthcare company that supports people through their health journeys. Sanofi's ambition, through its Play to Win strategic roadmap is to transform the practice of medicine by making innovative medicines and vaccines available to patients and healthcare professionals. We have expertise in cardiovascular, diabetes, immunology, neurology, rare diseases, human vaccines, and consumer healthcare. Globally, we are present in 90 countries and employ over 100,000 people. We have been in Nigeria since 1999. We are one of the few multinational pharma companies in Nigeria with local manufacturing footprints; we have a contractual manufacturing agreement with May and Baker, an indigenous pharmaceutical manufacturing company. We operate through three partners in Nigeria who distribute our products across the six geo-political zones of the country. For us at Sanofi, it is not about the conventional transacting of business; we run with purpose which is to identify the country's healthcare needs and help solve them. We work with various stakeholders to identify and solve unmet needs in pharmaceutical practice and access to healthcare. No single company can provide all solutions for all healthcare issues, but we are a major part of the solution. Our medical representatives have evolved into orchestrator reps by having in-depth knowledge of their customer's preference and are able to tailor medico-marketing information to their customer's preferences
How important is Nigeria within the Sanofi's global operations?
Sanofi has been present in Africa for over 50 years and has been dedicated to supporting people through their health journeys and promoting access to healthcare. Sanofi in Nigeria is a fully incorporated subsidiary of the Sanofi group. Its presence in Nigeria and supporting the healthcare needs of her over 200 million inhabitants is a commitment of Sanofi. Nigeria is an evolving economy which presents challenges typical of many developing countries. Nevertheless, Sanofi has a long-term view of its interests in Africa and remains committed to ensuring access to its medicines in Nigeria.
Does the size of the population make the consumer healthcare business the most prominent?
The most prominent in our portfolio for Nigeria in terms of business size is general medicines, where we have medicines for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, anti-infectives, cancer, and thrombosis. Our vaccine business greatly serves the local needs, as most Nigerians have likely benefited from a cholera, polio, or any other Sanofi vaccine products. Our consumer healthcare business continues to serve the needs of patients with our medicines.
Is your current business model your vision for the future, or do you envision having a local facility for production in Nigeria?
It is important to have essential medicines available locally. Producing medicines locally is the policy direction of government, and we have proactively aligned our priorities with this. We currently manufacture in Nigeria under contractual agreements with indigenous manufacturers. Today, we are one of the very few multinational pharma companies that produce medicines locally. Our partnership with local manufacturers allows us to develop the local pharma landscape through transfer of technology and expertise. Today, only a small percentage of our portfolio is produced locally and our mission remains to keep building upon this.
How does the currency volatility affect your business in Nigeria?
The currency exchange volatility is a major challenge that has significantly increased the cost of doing business. When COVID-19 broke out, we have had to absorb most of the shocks of currency volatility and did not raise our prices. That is the duty of care that we owe patients who depend on us for uninterrupted access to their essential medicines. However, the persistent inflation and unavailability of forex continues to adversely affect businesses, and we are responding to it as realistically as possible. It is important for stakeholders to realize that we will continue to require imported essential medicines to bridge the gap. All stakeholders must resist the urge to apply unrealistic knee-jerk reactions to achieve local manufacturing objectives.