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A Q&A with François Fournier

A Q&A with François Fournier

Dermatology executives discuss their views of the dermatology market to provide insights on trends, challenges and changes in the industry. François Fournier is the President of Galderma Laboratories, LP, headquartered in Fort Worth, TX. In this function, Mr. Fournier is in charge of operations in the United States and Canada. Galderma Laboratories is a leading worldwide dermatology company with a presence in 65 countries. Mr. Fournier has a wealth of worldwide experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including developing markets in Europe, Asia and Latin America. He joined Galderma in 2001 as general manager of the company’s German affiliate. He was subsequently promoted to positions of increasing responsibility, most recently as area Vice President of the Galderma Europe, Middle East-Africa and Asia-Pacific operating group. He holds advanced degrees as a Doctor of Pharmacy and a Masters in Business Administration. Galderma is committed to the future of dermatology. As such, Galderma is the world’s premier investor in the field of dermatology, dedicating an estimated $200 million annually to dermatology research and development.

Q. What do you see as the mission of your company?

A. To be recognized as the most competent and successful innovation-based company focused exclusively on meeting the needs of dermatology patients and physicians. We are focused on the treatment of acne, skin cancers, psoriasis and steroid-responsive dermatoses, pigmentation disorders, rosacea, onychomycosis and medical solutions for skin senescence. We also have a firm commitment to innovation in dermatology, which is why Galderma invests more than $200 million annually in research and development; more than any other dermatology company.

Q. What do you think is the most effective way to educate dermatologists about new products?

A.At Galderma we take a four-fold approach. As the innovation leader, we strive to provide important and relevant clinical studies to give physicians the necessary data to make informed decisions on how best to treat their patients. We take pride in our field sales forces, which are consistently ranked as the top in the industry by several industry surveys of practicing dermatologists. They are highly trained to present information to dermatologists in an ethical manner. As part of our Medical Department, we also employ trained Medical Science Liaisons, all with advanced degrees, who can undertake more detailed scientific discussions with practitioners on a variety of dermatology topics. We also believe in providing unrestricted funding to support top-flight medical symposia and continuing medical education to provide a forum for unbiased discourse on the latest in dermatology innovations and treatments.

Q. What do you consider the greatest obstacle encountered in bringing new products to market?

A. Due to the complicated and lengthy process for drug discovery, a pharmaceutical company such as Galderma needs patience and passion. Patience is for the lengthy process of discovering a new molecule and bringing it to market. This involves a great deal of risk and a large financial commitment. But this is the beauty of our business. We have the passion to bring new products to market to offer new treatments to the millions of people across the world who suffer from skin diseases.

Q. In your opinion, what have been the greatest changes in the field of dermatology in the past 3 to 5 years?

A. Since 2005, the percentage of generic prescriptions in dermatology has grown from 58% to almost 70%. However, the innovation of new treatments comes from branded pharmaceutical manufacturers. We have no problem with the use of generics, as long as rules allowing fair competition are applied consistently across the board to both brands and generics. Dermatology is now on the radar of managed care organizations. Over the past few years there are progressively more restrictive formulary and therapy choices for the doctor. Dermatologists are forced to select from therapies that may not meet the formulation or topical vehicle considerations they feel are best for the individual patient. In addition, only about one third of dermatology diagnoses now take place in a dermatologist’s office. This tells us that patients are seeking treatment from other doctors and even in places such as retail clinics.

Q. What changes do you expect in dermatology in the next 3 to 5 years?

A. While it’s hard to predict the future, I do believe that if industry works together with dermatology, we see blue skies ahead by adhering to these principles: • Dermatologists need to remain the experts in skin care. • Dermatologists need to better organize within their national, state and local societies to maintain better prescribing control of the best treatments for their patients. • Dermatology companies must continue to innovate. • It’s all about the patient.
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