The Big Interview questions – Dr Tunde Falode
Dr Tunde Falode is the General Manager of the Primary Care Business Unit at Sanofi UK and Ireland. Following graduation from the University of Jos Medical School in Nigeria, he secured a basic surgical training post through Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals in London, eventually specialising in cardiac and thoracic surgery, before changing his career path and joining Sanofi as a medical advisor in 2008. Dr Falode spoke to the DT about how Sanofi is supporting people with diabetes.
After the announcement that Sanofi would be discontinuing research into diabetes and cardiovascular, is the company still committed to these areas?
Yes, we absolutely remain committed to diabetes and cardiovascular disease and supporting people affected, not only through our medicines but also through the services, integrated solutions and educational programs we deliver.
Through this work, our purpose is to help people with diabetes and cardiovascular disease improve their quality of life. This is alongside our commitment to supporting the sustainability of healthcare systems.
In the UK, we provide a broad portfolio of diabetes medicines, patient support programmes and digital solutions. We also have a long-standing commitment to patient advocacy groups, for example through our support for Diabetes UK to deliver an ‘Improving Inpatient Care Programme centred on working with relevant decision makers to improve inpatient care, in collaboration with the diabetes community.
We are extremely proud of our over 100-year heritage in diabetes and our commitment to the area is unwavering.
Can you update us on any existing research Sanofi is carrying out in diabetes care?
We expect to continue any ongoing clinical development and registration programs that support our licensed products in diabetes.
As our CEO, Paul Hudson, recently unveiled, we are deploying a new strategy to drive the company’s future innovation and growth. For diabetes and cardiovascular, this means we are refocusing our R&D on new strategic priorities. This does not mean our work in this space is done. We are now preparing for our next cycle, with a new round of innovative solutions for patients.
Our commitment to people living with diabetes and the healthcare professionals who treat, manage and support them remains strong. We are building a connected ecosystem that can help improve the lives of people living with diabetes by supporting self-management and improving health outcomes.
What future plans does Sanofi have in diabetes care? What can we expect from Sanofi in 2020?
We have been involved in the field of diabetes for over 100 years and we are passionate about our role in the future. Our medicines in diabetes and cardiovascular have played a key role in improving the lives of people living with long-term conditions, and they will remain available as treatment options to support of the millions of existing and new patients around the world.
We will also continue to take the opportunity to innovate where we can in diabetes. For example, we have just announced a partnership with Biocorp to deliver a new integrated care smart technology linked to our pens to support people living with diabetes who are on our insulins. From 2020, Sanofi expects to launch the smart sensor cap that clips onto an injection pen, for use with selected pre-filled insulin pens. This new collaboration and the previously announced partnership with Abbott will allow us to build a fully connected ecosystem that can support people to better monitor and manage their diabetes.
What projects are you currently working on?
Current projects are focused on continuing to deliver our broad portfolio of solutions and integrated care offer in the UK, as well as to supporting the diabetes community, for example through initiatives such as the Diabetes Quality in Care (QiC) Programme which will be in its 10th year in 2020.
We will also continue to support excellent initiatives such as Insulin Safety Week and Hypo Awareness Week. We have also recently supported, along with the other manufacturers, a great piece of work that TREND is working on to support the safe use of insulin across the UK. We will continue to connect and work with the community though our presence at the key diabetes meetings across the UK throughout 2020.
Tell us about your early career in medicine as a Specialist Registrar in Cardiothoracic Surgery and why you made the switch to working in the pharmaceutical industry?
I originally trained as a medical doctor in Nigeria and came to the UK over 20 years ago to continue my postgraduate training in surgery. After my basic surgical training, I made the decision to specialise in cardiothoracic surgery. I was later impacted by NHS workforce planning decisions around future consultant posts in cardiothoracic surgery. This ultimately triggered my ‘brave’ decision to change careers, which was just over 10 years ago. I have gone onto have a very different, but incredibly rewarding, career within Sanofi, culminating in my current position.
What has been your biggest achievement so far working in the diabetes community?
My biggest achievement has been leading an organisation that is truly committed to supporting people living with diabetes. I am personally proud of our support programmes and national initiatives in diabetes care. Being accountable for delivering these solutions, beyond ensuring we safely supply our portfolio of insulins and medicines to the NHS, is a great opportunity and responsibility.
What does a typical day for you look like?
I usually start the day by 7.30am reviewing my emails and setting up my day. I tend to be involved in a quite a few meetings through the day where I am required to collaborate with different teams and help make decisions that truly shape the direction we take. I also travel both within the UK and abroad fairly frequently. Finally, I do try to get back home in time to help get my children to bed.
What do you do in your spare time?
I spend every bit of my spare time with my family. I have two young children, aged seven and three years old, and I truly love spending quality time with them. I’m also a football fan and support Arsenal Football Club, who are currently having a difficult season!