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April 8th, 2010

Remember that Appointment!

OK. Perhaps it was that kind of day, but this one had me laughing out loud.

Seriously, it did!

Yesterday, for World Health Day, my colleague Rob Halper uploaded a funny, yet informative video that encouraged people to visit their doctor to the Johnson & Johnson health channel on YouTube. Called “The Appointment” (there’s also a Spanish version called ”La Cita”), it was produced by the Johnson & Johnson company, Health Media, Inc. and, according to Rob, falls somewhere between “The Twilight Zone”, “Monty Python” and “Marcus Welby, MD”. Not sure I’d agree with THAT characterization, but it DID make me laugh — all while reminding me of the importance of making sure that the next time I visit my physician, I make sure to ask the right questions, understand what is being said, take notes if need be and share any changes in my health or life with my doc. Good stuff.

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April 6th, 2010

World Health Day

From Mark Krajnak, Manager, Corporate Communication, Johnson & Johnson

April 7th is World Health Day. Late last year, I had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua for a story we were working on for the Johnson & Johnson 2009 Annual Report and I had the chance to see how Johnson & Johnson is working to keep children free of infection.

The story, which you can read here, focuses on Fernanda, an active fourth grader who lives her family in Jinotepe, Nicaragua, about an hour or so away from Managua, the capital city of Nicaragua. But while Managua is very hustling and bustling and where most travelers go, Jinotepe is less visited but gives one a true taste of the culture and heritage of the country.

Unfortunately, Nicaragua is one of the second poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere and that’s what puts children like Fernanda and her brother Luis, at risk for infection with soil-transmitted helminths, or STH: roundworms, whipworms and hookworms.

About 400 million children worldwide are at risk of infection.  Found mostly in tropical and subtropical areas, STH is caused by a lack of clean water and sanitation. When Fernanda, and her little brother, Luis, are infected, they are listless, tired and don’t want to eat.

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March 19th, 2010

Coach K on the health channel

As we enter the season fondly referred to by sports fans as “March Madness,” or the NCAA basketball tournament, we’re pleased to have posted a video on the J&J health channel about Mike Krzyzewski, or Coach K. Legendary men’s basketball coach at Duke University, 63-year-old Coach K has coached the Duke Blue Devils for 30 years, and has amassed an amazing 859 wins! He also began suffering from osteoarthritis in his 50s, and his debilitating pain and lack of mobility led him to contemplate an early retirement from the game he loved.

After two successful hip replacements and rehabilitation, Coach K said, “I wish I had made the decision to have hip replacement sooner. I had exhausted all the non-surgical options, but still put off the surgery. This cost me some quality of life and it almost cost me the joys I continue to experience as a coach.”

Duke is seeded number one in the Southern Region of the NCAA tournament this year, and we wish him the best of luck!

Disclosure: Coach K is a paid spokesperson for DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc.

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March 4th, 2010

How Bridge to Employment Shapes Students’ Lives

From Imani Davis, Rutgers University Corporate Social Responsibility Fellow

As part of my responsibility as the Corporate Social Responsibility Fellow, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. this past October for the 13th annual Alliance Building & Training Session (ABTS)— a professional development and networking opportunity that brought together all Bridge to Employment (BTE) programs. Johnson & Johnson established the BTE program to help young people build solid futures by introducing them to a broad array of careers in health care.

This session allowed partners from around the world to share best practices as well as plan the next steps of their respective programs. The session also allowed interaction between students, mentors, school administrators, and corporate partners.

At this conference, I served two roles: student ambassador chaperone, which allowed me to work with a student group on their case study (they won best overall presentation, by the way!), and “roving” reporter, which allowed me to interview partners within every role of the BTE program; these interviews gave great insight from a variety of perspectives on how BTE impacted not only students’ lives, but also left a great impression on the mentors, administrators, and staff that worked with students.

This impression was also imparted on me.

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February 8th, 2010

More Perspectives on Text4Baby

I just had a chance to go through some of the online chatter about the announcement last week of the new Text4Baby mobile phone service that provides useful information for new and expectant moms. There are some more details on what this service means on the JNJ.com website (Johnson & Johnson is one of the founding sponsors) as well as on JNJBTW and BabyCenter, but I thought I would highlight a few of the posts I came across:

1) MobiHealthNews provides a snapshot of how mobile services are being used around the world to improve health literacy, highlighting a presentation made by Paul Meyer, co-founder, president and chairman of Voxiva, at a meeting last week in Nashville:

“Although there is a perception that everyone is on in Internet, only 31 percent of the population making less than $35,000 a year has broadband. Meyer pointed out that while only 51 percent of people with chronic illness have Internet access, 90 percent of Americans have mobile phones and 1 trillion text messages were sent last year.”

2) The Spohrs are Multiplying provides a personal perspective on the importance of quality care and information in ensuring healthy moms and babies:

“Information is power as they say, and this is rarely ever more true than when pregnant.

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February 4th, 2010

White House Launches text4baby

When my son Alex was small, his baby sitter told us of a horrible personal tragedy that befell her young niece. This seemingly healthy young woman died in childbirth. As the details of the tragedy came to light it became apparent to me – and the family — that with proper prenatal care, the outcome may have been different. 

Earlier today, the White House announced the launch of a new public health initiative, text4baby  – the US’s first-ever free mobile health service that provides timely and expert health information through SMS text messages for pregnant women and new moms. Simply by texting “BABY” to 511411 (or “BEBE” for Spanish language services) women can receive three free SMS text messages each week timed to their due date or to the baby’s date of birth that provide a wealth of information about the health of both mother and baby through the baby’s first year. 

According to a release issued by the White House the infant mortality rate in the US is one of the highest in the industrialized world – each year, about 500,000 babies are born prematurely and an estimated 28,000 children die before their first birthday.  This new text service is one effort to help address this situation.

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January 26th, 2010

Chairman and CEO Bill Weldon Highlights Johnson & Johnson’s Strategic Framework

I thought I would also highlight one other topic covered during the earnings call today. In addition to focusing on a common value system as defined by the company’s Credo, for many years, Johnson & Johnson has worked under an operating model that includes being broadly based in human health care, managing the business for the long term, taking a decentralized management approach and focusing on employees and the company’s value system. Within this strategic framework, the company will rally around common, high level priorities that reflect the current environment and the changing needs of the business. Today Chairman and Chief Executive Office Bill Weldon highlighted the common set of priorities that the company would focus on in 2010. In his words:

“These Growth Priorities are what we believe our businesses need to focus on. They are:

Innovative Products – Our growth has always been based on scientific innovations that serve unmet patient and customer needs in a meaningful way. This has led us to be a market leader, #1 or #2, in many of our businesses. We will stay focused on bringing forth innovative, accessible and effective products – and entirely new business models — that address the most prevalent health care needs of the day.

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January 26th, 2010

Reflecting on the Past Two Years

At the beginning of each year, most people reflect on what they had accomplished over the previous twelve months and consider whether they met their own personal goals and expectations. Though most of us do this routinely – usually during the aftermath of New Year’s Eve – we often forget that organizations need to do the same.

In his remarks to analysts today to discuss the fourth quarter 2009 earnings, Chairman and CEO Bill Weldon took a look back at what was said back in 2008 and then to see what the company has accomplished. So what exactly were those accomplishments?

You can listen to a replay of the earnings call – including Bill’s remarks – but I thought it would be of interest to share what he covered for those checking out JNJBTW. During the call today, Bill said the following:

“When we met with this group in January 2008, we looked ahead at the business challenges we would see over the next two years, we spoke about building our foundation of growth and we discussed many of the steps we were taking to do that:

We were in the midst of completing a restructuring of our Pharmaceuticals and Cordis businesses to deal with significant patent expirations and competitive pressures.

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January 26th, 2010

Chairman and CEO Bill Weldon Provides Additional Context on the McNeil Recall

During the earnings call earlier today, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Weldon provided some further context around the recent recall announcement by McNeil Consumer Healthcare. In his remarks to financial analysts Bill provided a more detailed account of what the investigation entailed and the complexities of identifying the source of the odor, which I have reprinted here for those who are interested:

“We’re very conscious of the bar we set for ourselves and that consumers expect more from us than from others because of our history and reputation. Our recent consumer product recall and FDA warning letter were important reminders of this expectation and the vigilance it requires. I want to assure you we take these matters very seriously and nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of the people who use our products.

We are undertaking a thorough review of our procedures to ensure that we identify potential improvements we could make moving forward. We believe these and other actions we are taking will address the concerns that the FDA raised in its warning letter, and we are working in close consultation with them.

When McNeil Consumer Healthcare first received some complaints on a “musty” odor associated with our products in 2008, the company conducted a microbiological investigation to check for the presence of bacteria and mold, which would be consistent with the presence of the odor.

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January 18th, 2010

More on that McNeil Consumer Healthcare Recall

Since the news of the McNeil Consumer Healthcare recall was announced last week, some questions have come up about the timing of the recall in light of when the company first became aware of the complaints about a “musty” odor.

At JNJBTW we try, whenever possible, to provide additional perspective around activities that are taking place at Johnson & Johnson. Since I’ve now learned a few things about the McNeil Consumer Healthcare recall, I thought I would pass this information on to you.

When McNeil Consumer Healthcare first received some complaints of a “musty” odor in 2008, the company conducted a microbiological investigation to check for the presence of bacteria and mold, which would be consistent with the presence of the odor. No bacteria or mold was found and it was determined that the complaints were likely an isolated issue.

When similar complaint trends were identified in 2009, the company initiated further investigation and analytical testing and determined that the reported uncharacteristic odor is caused by trace amounts of a chemical called 2,4,6-tribromoanisole (TBA) – which, as the company explained in its press release, “can result from the breakdown of a chemical that is sometimes applied to wood that is used to build wood pallets that transport and store product packaging materials.”

McNeil Consumer Healthcare is continuing to investigate this complex matter.

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