Time for transformational healthcare change - CEO of sanofi-aventis Canada shares thoughts on healthcare reform

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MONTREAL, April 11 /CNW/ - Today, Hugh O'Neill, President and CEO of sanofi-aventis Canada, told business leaders at the Canadian Club of Montreal why it's time for a transformational change in healthcare. A subject not often tackled by leaders in Canada's federal election, but a message Mr. O'Neill has been trying to discuss with healthcare stakeholders for a while now.

"We see it in the media, we hear about it through friends and family, we experience it firsthand: our healthcare system is going through tough times - if it is not actually in crisis," says Mr. O'Neill in his opening remarks. "It is time for a transformational shift in Canadian healthcare, for the benefit of patients and the sustainability of our healthcare system."

Mr. O'Neill believes that increased productivity and efficiency are the critical levers to keeping healthcare sustainable and providing patients with optimal care. All partners within the healthcare industry should work together to ensure our science, our systems, our processes, our negotiations and our values always put patients first. In fact, governments, healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies should each measure their success on the same basis: improved patient outcomes.

Highlights of the presentation included:

  • Access to timely care and treatments is compromised by inefficiencies and delays. These issues need to be addressed to ensure sustainable and optimized patient care.
  • Healthcare value should be measured by improved patient outcomes, not merely by cost reduction.
  • Innovation is key to improved patient outcomes and a more productive and sustainable healthcare system. Used appropriately, innovative medicines reduce health care costs for expensive surgeries and hospital visits.
  • Governments mostly reward through public reimbursement drugs that are first in class, but small incremental innovations also create products that are more effective, affordable and useful over time. Along with breakthrough innovations, which we aspire to achieve to address unmet medical needs, it is important for government regulators to value incremental innovations in their reimbursement processes.

According to Mr. O'Neill, incremental innovations, or small improvements to existing products, that make them more effective or easier to administer, are more important than ever. "Would you rather take an insulin shot once a day or many times a day?" he challenges. "Advancements like these are courtesy of incremental innovation, but they are not valued by Canadian regulators. This is why Canada is near the bottom of the OECD in terms of access to new medicines (23rd out of 29)."

"To ensure success, the dialogue must move away from the current cost measure focus, which seems incompatible with Canadians' belief in the right to a healthy life. We need to focus on patients first, which means working together for improved patient outcomes, embracing innovation however big or small, ensuring appropriate use of medications and encouraging patient compliance programs." These are all things that Hugh O'Neill and his team have been working towards since 2009.

About sanofi-aventis
Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone.

Sanofi-aventis is represented in Canada by the pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventis Canada Inc., based in Laval, Quebec, and by the vaccines company Sanofi Pasteur Limited, based in Toronto, Ontario. Together they employ more than 2,000 people across the country. With combined R&D investments of $159.2 million in 2010, they are leaders in Canada's biopharmaceutical sector, a critical knowledge-based industry that generates jobs, business and opportunity throughout the country.

/NOTE TO EDITORS: Media Assets accompanying this story are available as follows:

Video: http://www.newswire.ca/releases/mmnr/smr/AnglaisA.flv

Video: http://www.newswire.ca/releases/mmnr/smr/AnglaisB.flv

Image with caption: "Hugh O'Neill. (CNW Group/sanofi-aventis)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20110411_C3098_PHOTO_EN_01.jpg

Image with caption: "Hugh O'Neill. (CNW Group/sanofi-aventis)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20110411_C3098_PHOTO_EN_02.jpg

Image with caption: "Hugh O'Neill. (CNW Group/sanofi-aventis)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20110411_C3098_PHOTO_EN_03.jpg

SOURCE sanofi-aventis

For further information:

SANOFI-AVENTIS CANADA
Joanne Kennedy 
(514) 956-4188 
joanne.kennedy@sanofi-aventis.com

NATIONAL PUBLIC RELATIONS
Roch Landriault 
514-843-2345 
rlandriault@national.ca 

Stephanie Lyttle 
(514) 843-2365 
slyttle@national.ca

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