First-Ever Sanofi Partners in Patient Health Forum in the Asia Pacific Region

Cara Hesse | November 13, 2014

In September, more than eighty  patient advocates supporting rare disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis patient communities came together at the first-ever Partners in Patient Health Asia-Pacific Forum in Hong Kong sponsored by Sanofi. Coming from 11 different countries in the Asia Pacific region, the patient organizations represented at the meeting also varied widely in terms of size, scope and stage of development.

The Partners in Patient Health Asia Pacific Forum was a great start to Sanofi’s patient centricity plan. It provided a platform for a multi-disciplinary sharing between patient groups that covered topics ranging from psychosocial well-being of the patient and caregiver right through marketing strategies for fund raising and social media engagement. Such platforms which provide for a global perspective will certainly ignite new and creative perspectives for effective patient management and encourages thought leadership amongst patient groups. — Rajakanth Raman, Executive Director, Club Rainbow (Singapore)

During the Rare Disease Workshop on the second day of the meeting, the 2014 Genzyme PAL Award recipients from the region were announced and presented with an award. Nik Grund, the Senior Vice President of Asia-Pacific and Canada for Genzyme presented the PAL Award to the Japan Fabry Disease Patient and Family Association for their outreach project called "YO * RI * SO *I” that seeks to connect isolated families with regional counselors who can provide regular support and information. The Mucopolysaccharide & Related Diseases Society of Australia was also presented a PAL Award for their “School Connection Project” which seeks to address issues of bullying and isolation in schools often experienced by students with MPS disease, and improving educational outcomes for these students through a more systematic approach to managing schoolwork and expectations.

Despite such a diverse group with seemingly disparate goals and aspirations at the PIPH meeting, commonalities emerged. During the meeting, participants recognized that issues such as the sustainability and growth of their organizations and increasing member involvement (either in patient group activities or managing their own health) applied no matter where they came from, the health issue they were seeking to address, or the age or size of the organization again demonstrating that many of the challenges advocates face are universal.

It was our hope that bringing the broader advocacy community together would result in valuable exchanges of learning and insight, and showcase another way that our collective company can pull together to improve health in the region. In particular, the involvement and interactions from the rare disease advocacy community brought so much insight and compassion to the event, truly elevating the importance of partnerships focused on improving patient health.— Eric Racine, VP, Sanofi Global Patient Advocacy



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