Is Pierre taking lessons from Serge?
Although Diabetic Investor does not believe that opening one’s mouth and inserting one’s foot is a contagious disease, it sure is a common malady for executives at that soap opera turned three ring circus known as Sanofi (NYSE:SNY). Yes the readers of Diabetic Investor are very familiar with the mouth that roars, our one and only favorite quote machine Serge Weinberg. Yes Serge just loves to hear himself speak and has never meet a reporter he wouldn’t share his vast knowledge with.
Well it seems that Pierre Chancel, head of Sanofi’s diabetes business, is taking interview lessons from our good buddy Serge. According to an article posted on Bloomberg, Pierre spouted these words when asked about Sanofi’s new long-acting insulin Toujeo which as everyone knows is supposed to replace the goose that laid the golden eggs Lantus. “There is no reason to give higher rebates, Toujeo is an improvement on something that is already great. We don’t necessarily need to compare it to Lantus.”
Now we hate to burst Pierre’s bubble but Toujeo isn’t better than Lantus, Sanofi’s own studies prove this. The only supposed benefit over Lantus is fewer hypoglycemic events, a claim the FDA would not allow on the Toujeo label. What everyone expect Pierre seems to know is that Toujeo is just slightly better than Lantus and no payor will provide premium reimbursement or favorable formulary placement for any drug which is just incrementally better than the drug it is supposed to replace. A drug, which in the case of Lantus, works very well thank you very much.
But Pierre like Serge did not stop chewing on his foot and went onto to state that Toujeo would be targeted at newly diagnosed patients which represents about 3% of the overall market. The simple fact is Toujeo doesn’t have a prayer unless Sanofi discounts the drug, increases rebates or both. That baring removing Lantus from the market physicians have little reason to switch their patients to Toujeo.
Now we could go on here and regurgitate many of the things we have already said about Toujeo, about the many issues facing the drug. We could also repeat the many issues Sanofi has in diabetes for products not named Lantus. It would serve no purpose to remind everyone that management is dumber than a box of rocks and quite frankly that’s an insult to anyone who once owned a pet rock.
However Diabetic Investor can’t help but wonder how Olivier Brandicourt the new court jester of this dysfunctional kingdom feels today. The guy hasn’t even been on the job a month yet he surly must know by now that the inmates are running the asylum. That the executive team he has inherited is living in LaLa land. That his boss, is giving interview advice to these executives which is like giving a blind person a scalpel, telling them to perform open heart surgery and expecting a positive outcome.
The simple fact is Brandicourt inherited a kingdom ruled by Humpty Dumpty and as it goes all the kings’ horses and all the kings’ men could not put Humpty Dumpty back together again.