News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

One year on: Viatris celebrates strength of ‘our people and our culture’

Health Industry Hub | November 17, 2021 |
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Pharma News: Viatris celebrates its one-year anniversary this week, formed in November 2020 through the combination of Mylan and Upjohn, a legacy division of Pfizer.

Viatris is a leading supplier of medicines to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and supplies one in every six prescribed medicines in Australia. The company’s scientific, manufacturing and distribution expertise are all geared towards delivering a future-focused vision of “healthcare not as it is, but as it should be.”

“One year ago, we became Viatris and can uniquely support patients through our broad portfolio of brands, generics, biosimilars and OTC medicines. We are also continuing to invest in our local manufacturing and distribution capabilities to provide patients with access to medicines,” said Sylvain Vigneault, Viatris Australia Country Manager.

“Viatris was launched amid the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic following the disruptions of bushfires and floods,” continued Vigneault.

In 2020 Viatris received an API Supplier of the Year Award for efforts to circumnavigate fires blocking the only sealed road between South Australia and Western Australia. With the Eyre Highway closed to all traffic for 12 days because of bushfires, severely impacting the delivery of food and medicine supplies, Viatris found a way to get essential medicines by rail instead.

“We added efficiencies to Australia’s medicines supply chain through a $20 million warehouse and distribution centre near our Carole Park manufacturing facility in Queensland. One of the advantages of the 12,500sqm facility is that it routinely keeps healthy inventories of stock on hand, which is another way we can step in and support the market if another supplier experiences stock issues. When necessary, we can ship an order from our warehouse to anywhere around the country overnight,” continued Vigneault.

Advancing patient education and care through digital channels has also been a significant priority for Viatris over the last year. As the distributor of EpiPen, used for the treatment of anaphylaxis, Viatris launched the MyEpiPen patient support program, which has nearly 40,000 members.
The program includes features such as expiry reminders to prompt patients to get a new prescription, video explainers and free trainer devices for members. It also includes “how to use” cards to keep at home and share with friends and family so people will know what to do in the event of an emergency. The how to use video guide has been translated into 25 different languages.

“Our strength goes beyond our products. It’s the strength of our people and our culture that make it all possible. The last 12 months brought unprecedented challenges and our almost 800 strong workforce have weathered those challenges together,” Vigneault said.

Viatris told Health Industry Hub that their employees in Sydney and Melbourne worked from home for many months during the pandemic this year. This accelerated the introduction of new employee benefits and wellness initiatives, to support physical and mental wellbeing.

“Ensuring our employees feel connected, supported and safe has been at the forefront of our employee engagement and wellness initiatives in 2021. In July, employees received a voucher to support a local business. By August, there was a real sense of ‘lockdown fatigue’ so we introduced ‘Colleague Appreciation Afternoons’ which gave employees in lockdown two afternoons off.

“Throughout the pandemic we have offered our employees access to our COVID-19 Ambassadors, made up of employees who have been through the experience, to answer any questions regarding the vaccination process,” said Vigneault.

Viatris also recently launched a wellness allowance whereby each year employees will receive an incentive paid into their rewards account to be spent on supporting their health. In addition, Viatris continues to offer the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a completely confidential service which is available to all employees and immediate family members.

Vigneault added “I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Viatris family for their resilience and for successfully supporting so many patients during our first year.”

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