General Manager, General Medicines, Sanofi Canada
Sanofi Canada’s focus on the patient experience and innovative way of working aim to achieve the best outcomes for Canadians living with diabetes.
Diabetes is one of the major contributors to the global challenge of chronic disease. It affects about 10 percent of Canadians and is expected to grow to 12 percent by 2030.1
Diabetes affects people’s quality of life across multiple dimensions and throughout their lives. Aside from having to adapt to a new lifestyle, check blood glucose levels daily, and monitor their risks for complications, people living with diabetes often feel stigma around their disease and require additional emotional and mental health support. Currently, there are significant support gaps facing people living with diabetes in the health care system, and more needs to be done to improve outcomes from both a physical and mental health perspective.
Making mental health a priority
Sanofi Canada is striving to help people living with diabetes lead full and productive lives, not only by improving the medical management of their disease but also by developing a better understanding of their specific mental health needs. Sanofi Canada recently commissioned online market research with 1,000 Canadians living with diabetes. Forty percent said that mental health checks are an important aspect of their care since COVID-19. However, only two percent reported having a mental health practitioner or social worker as part of their health care team.
Based on this information, the Sanofi Canada team is working to fill this critical gap by identifying mental health programs specific to diabetes to ensure that people living with diabetes’ priorities and needs are put first. “We’re focused on delivering simple, convenient, and patient-centred solutions to health care providers and the people living with diabetes who they support,” says Sabina Steinkellner, General Manager of General Medicines at Sanofi Canada. “All people living with diabetes want to live life to the fullest, so we think it’s important to look at solutions beyond insulin.”
Leveraging the past to contribute in the future
Sanofi Canada can trace a direct line back to the discovery of insulin 100 years ago. “We’re very proud of our heritage in innovation and contributions to public health, especially in the discovery of insulin but also our decades of insulin production,” says Steinkellner.
But equally important to where Sanofi Canada is coming from is where it’s going. “It’s about how we can leverage where we’ve been in terms of our commitment to people living with diabetes and public health overall and how we can contribute moving forward,” says Steinkellner. “It’s a really integral part of our culture and who we are at Sanofi.”
One way Sanofi Canada is demonstrating its commitment to improving patient outcomes is through evidence-based discussions, sharing cutting-edge research. “We recently participated in the 81st Scientific Sessions hosted by the American Diabetes Association, where we had multiple studies on identifying optimal therapies for sustained diabetes management and remission,” says Steinkellner. Two of these were Canadian-based research abstracts funded by Sanofi, highlighting the importance of partnership and collaboration with the Canadian medical community and a global lens on diabetes research.
Innovative and entrepreneurial thinking can improve the lives of people living with diabetes
With the diabetes world ever-changing, Sanofi Canada is focusing on continuing to cultivate agility and an entrepreneurial spirit. “Just like the pioneers of insulin kept trying and innovating, we’re carrying forward the same willingness today to try new things, innovate, and be entrepreneurs in the pharmaceutical industry,” says Steinkellner.
What hasn’t changed is Sanofi Canada’s commitment to people living with diabetes. “We continue to support people living with diabetes beyond the therapeutic realm,” says Steinkellner. Sanofi’s global ambition is to reverse the course of diabetes by 2030. “It’s a long-term goal that underpins everything we do,” says Steinkellner. “It’s really inspiring for us because it’s about not just helping the patient manage the disease but working to actually reverse the course of the disease — maybe one day, like the prevention of polio through vaccination, it will be something of the past.”
This article was made possible with support from Sanofi Canada.
1 Canadian Diabetes Cost Model. Ottawa: Diabetes Canada; 2016. Diabetes statistics in Canada are estimates generated by the Canadian Diabetes Cost Model, a forecasting model that provides projections on prevalence, incidence, and economic burden of diabetes in Canada based on national data from government sources.