Dinner debate featuring Mr. Michael Milken and Mr. Chris Viehbacher
Washington, Residence of France, January 18, 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for Sophie and me to welcome you today to our residence for an evening of discussion and interaction on a topic of major and growing importance: “Accelerating Medical Solutions”.
Before I introduce our two speakers, Chris Viehbacher and Michael Milken, I would like to thank you all for coming and to acknowledge some of our very distinguished guests : Congressman Ed Markey and Admiral Susan Blumenthal ; Congressman Charles Dent ; IMF Chief Economist Olivier Blanchard ; Francis Collins, Director of the NIH ; Liz Fowler, from the White House ;
Ambassador Nancy Brinker,
Dr. Margaret Ann Hamburg, and I could go on – please forgive me for not being able to mention all of you.
Based on different paths and experiences, the United States and France have a lot to share on health care issues.
Let me take three examples among many others :
First: as we all know, in our two countries, the health care sector is growing faster than our economies. This means that public opinions in the U.S. and in France attribute more and more value to health – health being both a cost and a source of economic value. Today the U.S. spends 18% of its GDP on health – compared to 11.5% in France.
Second illustration: our two countries are in the forefront of international efforts in terms of providing medical assistance. To take just one example, the U.S. and France are the two largest donors to the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. France is also committed to the success of other multilateral initiatives such as GAVI and UNITAID.
Third: we share on the two sides of the Atlantic the conviction that innovation is the number 1, number 2 and number 3 priority. This is certainly the case in France.
This is why we have put in place… (competitive clusters, R&D tax credits, investment for the future program).
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Back to our two very distinguished speakers, whom I’d like to warmly thank on behalf of all of us.
You all know Mike Milken, and I need not recall his multifaceted contribution to medical research. Through the Milken Family Foundation, he contributed to addressing difficult inner-city issues, assist families of children with cancer and to supporting worldwide research on pediatric neurology, nutrition, leukemia, brain cancer and breast cancer.
He has founded the Prostate Cancer Foundation, helped launch the Melanoma Research Alliance and chairs the Milken Institute, an economic think tank that seeks to create a more informed public and more thoughtful policymaking.
He is also chairing FasterCures, a think tank – or, as its staff calls it, an “action tank” – dedicated to accelerating cures and improving treatment outcomes for all life-threatening diseases. He is, to use Fortune Magazine words, a man who changed medicine.
We also are very honored to welcome Chris Viehbacher, CEO of Sanofi, a visionary leader for a global healthcare and pharmaceutical company. Accelerating medical solutions is a core pillar of Sanofi’s strategy.
Chris Viehbacher is also the Chairman of the Board of PhRMA, “Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America”. PhRMA represents leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives.
Our distinguished speakers will start the discussion and compare strategies that bring results and accelerate the spreading of efficient methods, technologies, scientific breakthroughs.
They will speak in confidence, knowing that this privileged audience is here for a conversation, not for controversies.
Ladies and Gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Chris Viehbacher and Mike Milken.