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Listen and subscribe to “Vietnam Innovators” in Vietnamese: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | YouTube.
When Emin Turan arrived in Vietnam in July 2020 to lead Sanofi Vietnam and Cambodia, Vietnam was battling its second wave of COVID-19. He jumped right into action and saw how the Southeast Asian country managed to easily bounce back in just two months.
“When the world economy was at a standstill, Vietnam was a star in 2020,” Emin said.
Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, Emin’s expertise in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology has taken him into different countries, including South Korea and the US, and strengthened Sanofi’s presence in every country he was assigned. And he is determined to do the same in Vietnam and Cambodia.
While the pharmaceutical markets in the countries he now leads are considerably young compared to other nations, Emin is seeing growth potential, especially as Vietnam continues to implement free trade agreements with its peers, paving the way for more businesses and enterprises like Sanofi to enter the local market.
“The pharmaceutical industry here is not that big and developed...yet. But I can see that it’s contributing well to the economy despite it being in its early stage. I think there are regulatory roadblocks hindering it from expanding, but I’m sure the government is working on clarifying those roadblocks. It will soon become a major growth and export driver for the country, making us excited to explore market opportunities.”
The business of saving lives
With its headquarters in France and solid presence in 90 countries, Sanofi is a global life sciences company committed to improving access to healthcare and supporting people to lead healthier lives. From prevention to treatment, Sanofi transforms scientific innovation into healthcare solutions that are easily available and accessible to people from all walks of life.
It’s a “business of saving lives”, as Emin would call it, and he is proud to be an active player in the industry. “The moment we wake up in the morning, we need to feel that passion and purpose - which is to save lives. And that’s what fuels me, and my team at Sanofi.”
In Vietnam, where the healthcare sector is bombarded with major issues like shortage of expert medical workforce and overcrowding, Sanofi commits to contributing to the healthcare progress through a broad portfolio of products, as well as medical education programs - something Emin is very familiar with and extremely passionate about.
Emin has a particular interest in health literacy and promotes the value of evidence based medicine in personal and public decision making on public health related topics. He also holds active roles in different associations to advocate the industry, including Vice-Chairman of the Pharmaceuticals Committee of The European Chamber of Commerce in Korea.
A healthier future to look forward to
Now that Vietnam is grappling with the unprecedented impacts of a fourth outbreak, Sanofi continues to operate, and actively engages with its consumers to provide them with innovative drugs and healthcare solutions.
As a matter of fact, Sanofi is also currently researching and testing a COVID-19 vaccine that's bound to help end the pandemic. Vietnam’s health ministry has already informed French Ambassador Nicolas Warnery of its hope to cooperate in technology exchange and transfer of vaccine development and production.
As a medical doctor, Emin encourages Vietnamese impacted by the lockdowns to keep physical health in check, take a break from work when needed, exercise, engage with colleagues and teammates virtually to maintain human connection, and to keep purpose in mind and let it lead you through this challenging time.
“We’ll get through this together,” said Emin.
An additional tip from Emin on how you can stay healthy in the midst of the pandemic: be health literate - get the right pieces of information on COVID-19 from the right organizations and sources, not on social media.