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Carroll School of Management

Christopher A. Viehbacher

Chief Executive Officer, Sanofi, and Chairman, Genzyme Corporation

Excerpt from remarks to Boston College’s Chief Executives’ Club of Boston 

March 6, 2012

TAKEAWAY: EMERGING MARKETS

Well what’s fascinating in the world today is really when you travel to emerging markets. You go to emerging markets and you see people—they’re investing, they’re working hard, and they’re growing strongly. From a health care point of view, that’s interesting because those countries are starting to think about health care models.

Today, if you’re in Brazil, most people do not have any health care insurance. And obviously, there is a lot of thought about health care insurance models. Because if you’re sitting with one of the regional heads of the Communist Party in China, for example, or one of the ministers of the Chinese government, and you say, “What are the things that keep you up at night?” They will tell you it’s social unrest. And the social unrest is driven if the rapid economic growth in those countries doesn’t get spread amongst the broader population. And one of the ways that they can make everybody feel that the country is becoming more successful is to have better access to health care.

What is interesting though is they look at the U.S. system, they look at the European system, and they say those systems are going bankrupt. We’re not going to buy health care like that. And I think you’re going to see emerging markets actually leapfrog Western markets, in a lot of ways, like Eastern Europe did on technology after the fall of the Wall. Because they didn’t have all of the prior investment in health care systems. So I think what’s going to be interesting from a macro point of view is, Where do emerging markets go in development of models? And we may be able to learn from them.