Sanofi China feels quickening pulse of medical sector
Healthcare products and services provider Sanofi China has launched a new multichannel medical information sharing platform.
Sanofi MC2 has already started pilot programs to help county-level healthcare professionals with diversified communications tools.
The program was rolled out in eastern Jiangxi province and is designed to provide accurate and personalized medical information for healthcare professionals, especially at the county hospital level.
A newly appointed multichannel medical consultant team asks physicians what sort of information they require. The team then responds with professional answers and customized feedback through online tools, such as telephone messaging, email, WeChat and web conference.
Sanofi did not give detailed information about how much it has invested into the project. A team of some 200 professionals are devoted to the program.
“Unlike general commodities, pharmaceutical products are very ... complex and highly relevant to life,” said Lu Juming, professor from the department of endocrinology at the General Hospital of the PLA (Hospital 301).
From market launch to well-regulated clinical use, a product needs to go through a long process. It includes trial experience sharing, doctor-patient communication, adverse reaction event monitoring and new indication development, Lu said.
According to a research by Kantar Healthcare, a market research and information services provider, more than 62 percent of the physicians in China regard the internet as an important channel to obtain information.
But online information can sometimes be inaccurate, irrelevant and even misleading, which creates a waste of time and resources for physicians.
“When dealing with a specific academic topic, physicians usually have to spend a lot of time on searching, reading and screening without satisfying results,” said Li Zheng, business director with Kantar Healthcare China operation.
County-level physicians said Sanofi’s online healthcare information project is acting as a supplement to traditional academic meetings, training programs and seminars.
Compared to physicians working at major hospitals and in big cities, physicians at county-level hospitals have fewer opportunities to receive “hands-on” professional instructions or attend various academic symposiums and workshops.
Gong Ciping, director and physician with the cardiovascular department of a hospital in Jinxi county, Jiangxi province, finds that online discussion of patient case studies is the most helpful.
Jinxi is a county with a population of 300,000, about 200 kilometers away from Jiangxi province’s capital city Nanchang. Doctor Gong meets more than 1,000 patients annually.
“For physicians in counties like me, group consultation may take a lot of time and resources. Sometimes we cannot afford that because clinic hours are tightly scheduled. Online consultation is much easier — sometimes an inquiry is responded (to) and a question is resolved within half an hour, which helps my work, and benefits my patients,” Gong said.
Sheng Jingzhou, vice-president of the primary care business unit of Sanofi China, said the program also echoes the State Council’s goal to reduce the premature mortality of patients with major chronic diseases by 30 percent by 2030 from the level in 2015, as provided in the “Healthy China 2030” Planning Outline.
Sanofi’s MC2 project will be implemented in nearly 100 hospitals in 50 counties in 2017, and company officials expect further expansion to cover more disease areas and more regions nationwide in 2018.
“It is often asked how this program will help our business grow,” Sheng said. “The initiative is not to make money fast and the nature of the program is not to aim at something lucrative overnight.
“At Sanofi we believe that when we help physicians to grow, we ultimately help patients. And when we create value to physicians and patients, we build up trust, which is a key to success in the sector,” Sheng added.
Unlike general commodities, pharmaceutical products are ... complex.” Lu Juming, professor at the General Hospital of the PLA (Hospital 301)