October 21st, 2010

Helping Reduce Disease

By Paul Stoffels, Global Head, Pharmaceuticals Research & Development, Johnson & Johnson 

Last Tuesday, I had the honor of addressing the World Health Organization as it launched a report on neglected tropical diseases. The report suggests that several of the 17 neglected diseases identified could be eliminated by 2020 by increased distribution of simple medicines.

I firmly believe that we have a collective responsibility to contribute to a future of good health for people around the world.  At Johnson & Johnson we are uniquely positioned to do so because of our long history of advancing care for global health and addressing some of the world’s most challenging health problems.

I was proud to highlight our Company’s response to the UN Secretary General’s call for a renewed effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of reducing mortality in women and children by 2015. Johnson & Johnson has demonstrated its commitment to the MDGs by expanding its donation of mebendazole – a treatment for intestinal worms — to 200 million treatments per year.  This represents a four-fold increase from current support.  Our goal is to distribute mebendazole in 30 to 40 countries by 2015, and to help 120 million women and children each year in developing countries.  In addition, we will fund educational programs to prevent re-infection in treated children.

As a healthcare company, we must continually advance medical science to develop new treatment options, meet needs through donations, and support local health systems through the development of infrastructure and the empowerment of local health organizations. But, no single organization can address these challenges alone, and that is why we look forward to working with the WHO and coordinating and collaborating with other like-minded stakeholders, including industry, academia, NGOs, and others to identify and execute new solutions.

As I stated in my remarks to the WHO, individually, we each have the power to make a difference. Collectively, we can be formidable –and change the world by combining and deploying resources and knowledge to reduce the burden of neglected tropical disease and improve health globally.

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