I am honoured to reach out to you for the first time via our annual report for 2017.Our aspiration is to be the most admired healthcare company in India helping patients toreceive high quality medicines and affordable healthcare solutions.
To realise our aspiration we are committed to grow our business responsibly andethically. We believe that we must continuously keep our patients at the centre of allthat we do bringing to them world class innovation and empowering lives in every area wetouch.
Your Company had yet another year of good performance. We witnessed encouraging growthdespite external challenges. Noteworthy amongst them is the passing of the Goods andServices Tax (GST) bill and it being thrust into a less-cash' economy. Though acritical economic development for the country it did cause transitory hardships. Thedomestic pharmaceutical sales growth dipped in 2017 as business was impacted by the GST(goods and services tax) roll-out delayed product approvals and inclusion of moreproducts under price caps. However you would be proud to know that your Company hasmanaged the arduous transition to the GST and sailed through these external challengeswith minimal business disruption.
Overall the pharmaceuticals market in India too showed encouraging trends. With abooming population of 1.3 billion access to healthcare for all becomes crucial. TheGovernment of India is taking initiatives to promote the pharmaceutical sector in India.The National Health Policy 2017 the Drug Price Control Order and the NationalPharmaceutical Pricing Authority are all intended to improve affordability andavailability of medicines. The newly-approved National Health Policy seeks to promoteuniversal access to good quality healthcare services while ensuring that no one facesfinancial hardship and to ensure that public hospitals provide universal access to a widearray of free drugs and diagnostics. It is indeed a laudable effort to improveaccessibility and will help realize the vision of achieving universal health coverage andhealth for all' in India. India is amongst the fastest growing markets in the worldand Sanofi India has made ambitious plans to capitalize on the opportunities. Your Companyis likely to be in line with the market growth in its therapy areas and is committed todelivering high quality healthcare solutions for people across the country.
Your Company has a wide portfolio of therapeutic solutions across Diabetes &Cardiovascular diseases Consumer Healthcare Central Nervous System ThrombosisAnti-infectives to name a few. You will be proud that four of our products featureamongst the top 100 pharmaceutical brands in the country LantusR CombiflamR AmarylR andAllegraR. The products manufactured by the Company are distributed in India and exportedto over 50 countries including Germany Australia UK Russia and Italy.
I am delighted to share that in the area of CSR your Company has developed severalsustainable initiatives. Each year we further build upon our CSR commitment throughinitiatives which are enthusiastically supported by our own employees. I am truly proud toshare that for India's annual festival of giving Daan Utsav' 730 employeesdedicated 2880 hours towards building communities and engaged in activities with NGOsacross 15 cities in India.
Given that diabetes is growing in epidemic proportions in India Sanofi India hasbroadened the parameters of its long running Diabetes Patient Counseling ProgramSaath7' with a Public Private Partnership to benefit 20 million people acrossMaharashtra threatened with diabetes and other non-communicable diseases.
Of course a lot more needs to be done. As a future ready organisation with sustainedgrowth and development we are building an organisation with the best talent and aninclusive approach that encourages diversity and gender balance. After all what is aCompany if not an amalgamation of a group of people driven by a strong value system andworking towards the same goal?
In the coming years India's pharmaceutical industry is set to grow and with yourCompany's healthcare solutions we are poised to grow our business and growth. YourCompany endeavors to help people as their health journey partner to support them duringtheir health challenges so that they can live life to its complete potential.
I take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to each one of you for yoursupport and commitment at all times. I wish you and your families the very best for 2018.