Brussels - June 24, 2013 - Christopher A. Viehbacher, Chief Executive Officer of Sanofi, was elected today President of EFPIA, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, for a 2-year term.

Stepping into his role as the new President of EFPIA, Mr. Viehbacher called on the European Union, member states and industry to work together in facing Europe’s economic and social challenges. He emphasised the pharmaceutical industry’s potential to help revive Europe’s economy while improving the quality of life for its people, and outlined EFPIA’s priorities for the industry.

“I am extremely honoured by this election that comes at a time when Europe needs a different approach to healthcare,” declared Christopher A. Viehbacher, President of EFPIA. “As an industry, we will continue to put patients first by delivering innovative, life-changing medicines that address unmet medical needs.  But given the chronic deficits of healthcare systems, we must work differently, build collaborative policies and combine our strengths at both national and European levels. As we want Healthcare to be a growth engine for Europe, our industry must focus on three priorities: patient access, science & innovation and competitiveness.”

We need to achieve equity of Patient Access to quality care within sustainable healthcare systems.

As inequalities in access to healthcare and innovative treatments are growing between European countries, structural issues of health system efficiencies must be addressed. Member states are implementing different policy approaches, many of which are aimed at reducing public financing in the short term. Yet, there remains an insufficient evaluation of their impact on access and ultimately on the health status of European citizens. We need to ensure that medical innovation makes its way to the patient.

We need to implement a true European framework for Science and Innovation.

Currently, pharmaceutical R&D productivity is far from optimal, at a time when the need for innovation in health has never been greater. Science is evolving very quickly, bringing with it the promise of personalised medicine as well as a range of new technologies for improved delivery in healthcare systems. We need to support collaborative research and rethink the regulatory and policy framework to help translate scientific innovation into therapeutic progress to bring to patients.

We need to drive a genuine Agenda for Growth.

As European growth is stagnant and global competition for investment is intense, we must focus on sectors that can drive growth, such as the healthcare sector. However, in order to contribute to a healthy workforce and economy, a comprehensive industrial policy for life sciences is needed to foster a real culture of innovation and collaboration among public and private actors. The European Commission, member states and industry need to work together, if we are to realise the potential promised by innovation-led growth.

In 2012 alone, the R&D-based pharmaceutical industry in Europe generated 700,000 jobs, and created a positive trade balance of an estimated € 80 billion. This industry is driven by innovation, by science, and, most importantly, by the health needs of people. 

“I look forward to working with my EPFIA colleagues and with others across the health system to advance policies that recognize the strategic importance of our industry in terms of better health for patients and economic growth,” Mr. Viehbacher concluded.

Joining Mr. Viehbacher at the head of the EFPIA board will be two newly elected Vice Presidents, Dr. Roch Doliveux, Chief Executive Officer of UCB, and Mr. Joseph Jimenez, Chief Executive Officer of Novartis.

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Biography of Christopher A. Viehbacher

Christopher A. Viehbacher holds German and Canadian nationalities. He is a graduate of the Queens University (Ontario - Canada) and trained as a certified public accountant. Since December 2008, he has held the position of Chief Executive Officer, Sanofi and is a Board member, in addition to being a member of the Strategy Committee. He is also Chairman of Genzyme, which Sanofi acquired in February 2011.

Christopher Viehbacher started his career in finance at PriceWaterhouseCoopers before joining GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in 1988. Throughout the next 20 years with the company, he acquired broad international experience in Europe, in the United States and in Canada. His previous position, before joining Sanofi was President of Pharmaceutical Operations North America. He was also a member of the Board and Co-Chairman of the Portfolio Management Board.

Christopher Viehbacher has been the Chairman of PhRMA in the United States (December 2010 - April 2012) and since February 2011 is Chair of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer. This association brings together employers across the United States to develop and implement workplace initiatives that reduce the risk of cancer, enable early diagnosis, facilitate better access to best-available treatments and hasten the discovery of novel and more effective diagnostic tools and anti-cancer therapies. Over 120 organizations are now members, covering 3 million employees.

In 2003, the French government acknowledged his commitment to public health and business by making him a knight of the French Legion of Honor. In 2012 he received the prestigious Pasteur Foundation Award, recognizing his leadership role within the pharmaceutical industry’s support of research & development and improving health of the 7 billion people around the world.

Amongst other commitments, Christopher Viehbacher is also a member of International Business Council (WEF).

About EFPIA: 

EFPIA represents the pharmaceutical industry operating in Europe. Through its direct membership of 34 national associations and 40 leading pharmaceutical companies, EFPIA provides the voice of 1,900 companies committed to researching, developing and bringing new medicines to improve health and quality of life around the world. The pharmaceutical industry invests 27.5 billion on research and development per year in Europe and directly employs 700,000 people including 116,000 in R&D units in Europe.

EFPIA members are committed to delivering innovative medicines to address unmet needs of patients and reducing the burden of chronic diseases for Europe’s ageing population. EFPIA believes in close cooperation with its stakeholders to help create sustainable healthcare   systems and to develop prompt responses to health threats in Europe.

Media Contact:

EFPIA: Nicholas Elles

nicholas.elles@efpia.eu

+32 (0)2 626 34 79