A growing health sector and economy has spurred the expansion of the medical supplies and services sectors.

Haissam Chraiteh
Chairman of the Board
Sanofi Aventis
Arman Lukmanov

What is the history of your company in Kazakhstan?

HAISSAM CHRAITEH Sanofi has had a long history in Central Asia present for more than two decades through representative offices. In 2009 we altered our operations in Kazakhstan from a representative-office-based setup to a local pharmaceutical company. Sanofi-Aventis was the first originator company to make this change in the pharmaceutical sector. We fully act as a local distributing company to wholesalers in the country. This step was encouraged by the government's recent decisions related to further healthcare development in the country. Sanofi and Aventis merged in 2005, though the products of both firms already had an established presence in the market. Sanofi is bringing in innovative medicines related to oncology, diabetes, cardiovascular, and internal diseases medicines for the effective treatment of Kazakhstani patients.

ARMAN LUKMANOV Our company was established in 2004 by Canadian and Kazakhstani partners to provide medical services to oil and gas companies in the Kzylorda region. Since then the business has expanded to the mining industry in central Kazakhstan. Later on a major stake in the company was sold to British company Abermed. After Abermed came to Kazanada as a shareholder, Kazanada opened a facility in western Kazakhstan specializing in offshore medical services. Two years ago International SOS of Dubai acquired Abermed, and has become our major shareholder. Kazanada serves local companies and foreign companies from Russia and China. We provide services to the local market and serve Kazakhstani nationals and foreigners who use local medical standards, so we mostly employ Kazakhstani doctors. At the moment we are working in seven regions. In Astana we have 10 people working in our headquarters, while the rest of our team of 200 is spread across Kazakhstan, providing healthcare services in remote areas. We provide medical clinics, ambulances, doctors, paramedics, medicines, and other medical services in remote sites. Also, in some regions, we organize occupational health centers to perform medical checkups for corporate clients. The first clinic we opened was in Atyrau because of the huge demand. According to Kazakhstani law all employees need to have a medical checkup once a year in ordinary local clinics. It is difficult to perform thousands of checkups at local public clinics where there are already many local patients. Hence, at our clinics we work only with corporate clients for their check-up needs.

What strengths has the company brought to research in the country?

HC We have a lot of local activities in terms of medical research in different fields. In addition, we also prepare the market for new drugs in the fields of oncology and cardiology. We are quite active through regional interaction and clinical trials with hospitals and local operators. There is a government program called “100 Clinics and 100 Schools", and this is going to be significant for business. The Ministry of Health has announced that an additional $3 billion will be spent on the healthcare sector by 2015. This amount doesn't only cover expenditures and medicines, but also medical infrastructure and equipment. It is an ambitious program, and will include the hiring and training of new nurses and medical staff. Since 2008 Sanofi in Kazakhstan initiated medical awards for the best research in various medical areas contributing to the development of science in the country.

How would you define the main challenges you face in your area of operations?

AL Kazakhstan is a huge country with a small population. Our projects are located very far from city centers, sometimes up to 200 kilometers away. Even if we have vehicles, the transport infrastructure network does not work to our advantage. In very remote projects we use helicopters for transport. However, in general we work with 4WD ambulances. If a patient has minor issues, we do it locally. If not, we need to transport the patient to the nearest stationary clinic, and to do so we have our own specially equipped ambulance fleet.