2022-07-05| FundingSpecial

Sanofi Launches Nonprofit Brand To Distribute Medicines to Low-Income Countries

by Reed Slater
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France-headquartered healthcare giant, Sanofi, announced on July 4 that it is launching a global health brand called Impact to distribute 30 Sanofi-produced medicines in 40 low-income countries on a non-profit basis. The Impact brand will include standard-of-care medicines like insulin, glibenclamide, oxaliplatin, and others, in addition to a $25 million fund to support local healthcare services and training for medicine administration. 


Sanofi’s Growing Humanitarian Presence


The Impact brand is one step in a bigger picture for Sanofi, which announced its Sanofi Global Health unit in April last year. The Sanofi Global Health unit was partly spurred on by the pandemic and how it highlighted holes in the global healthcare system and partly by its ambition to build a stronger foundation for its Corporate Social Responsibility strategy. 

Similar to the announcement of the Impact brand, the Sanofi Global Health unit vowed to provide 30 essential Sanofi medicines to 40 countries with the lowest per capita GDP in the world. The provided medicines are those considered essential by the World Health Organization. Targeted therapeutic areas will include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, tuberculosis, malaria, and cancer. 

The difference between the two initiatives is the Impact brand will be a separate set of medicines manufactured by Sanofi. The company has not announced a pricing model for the Impact products or whether they will be less expensive than Sanofi medicines. 

In addition to focusing on providing medicines to low-income countries, Sanofi established Foundation S in May this year to fight childhood cancer, increase health resilience in populations vulnerable to climate change, and donate more products to meet the needs of humanitarian crises. As part of the Foundation S initiative, Sanofi says it will donate 100,000 vials of lysosomal storage disorder medicine each year to support patients living with the rare genetic condition caused by an enzyme deficiency. 

The details of the philanthropic initiatives are scarce because they are so new; however, Sanofi’s efforts are a welcome addition to the growing list of companies joining the trend of providing global not-for-profit assistance to communities in need. 

Related Article: Sanofi’s New Pompe Disease Treatment Wins Approval in Europe


Joining the Trend of Nonprofit-based Global Assistance


Most large biotechnology companies have some kind of corporate responsibility statement outlining their intention to provide for underserved communities or address ecological concerns in the manufacturing process. Many companies, like Sanofi, are taking a step further by creating entire nonprofit divisions dedicated to providing products, assistance, and funding to communities and populations that may otherwise not have access to adequate healthcare services. 

In June, GSK announced a ten-year plan to invest £1 billion in infectious disease research and development to aid lower-income countries. The initiative will focus on high-burden areas like malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV. GSK says the efforts could benefit up to 2.5 billion people over the next decade. 

Pfizer recently announced that it would provide all of its patent-protected medicines to low-income countries at a not-for-profit price. The treatments ranged from COVID-19 therapies like Paxlovid to Pfizer’s blockbuster cancer therapy, Ibrance. 

Merck KGaA established the Merck Foundation in 2017 to work alongside local nonprofits in lower-income countries to improve access to better healthcare systems. Similarly, the Novartis Foundation works with local authorities to address some of the world’s most pertinent healthcare challenges. 

The world’s healthcare landscape is rapidly changing during the technological revolution it is experiencing. Even with that, massive improvements need to be made before the planet sees equitable healthcare services universally. Efforts like those from Sanofi are a step in the right direction. Hopefully, Sanofi will provide concrete results from its philanthropic efforts to provide a better foundation for the biotech industry to create adequate healthcare services worldwide.


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