August 10th, 2009

Robin Smalley and mothers2mothers

Brittany Hume, Corporate Contributions, Johnson & Johnson

Working in the field of HIV/AIDS, I consider myself spoiled by the caliber of people that I encounter on a day-to-day basis. Passion and gritty determination are prerequisite characteristics for choosing a career in global public health, and the organizations with which Johnson & Johnson partners on its Corporate Contributions work are peppered with unsung heroes chasing ambitious dreams and overcoming inconceivable day-to-day challenges to improve the health of millions.

Robin Smalley is one such person. As one of the co-founders of mothers2mothers, Robin helped launch an organization that tackles one of the most tragic—and preventable—public health issues in Africa today: the transmission of HIV/AIDS from a mother to her baby.

As they say, though, some leaders are born, and others are made. Robin would place herself in the latter category.

At first introduction, Robin is a bright, warm person whose sunny disposition reflects her California roots. She spent the first half of her career in television, serving as a writer, producer, and director for iconic shows like “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and rubbing elbows with actors and celebrities. Despite her success earned by years of hard work, Robin began to question her happiness and fulfillment.

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August 6th, 2009

Don’t Let Your Vote Go Uncounted

By Doug Chia, Senior Counsel & Assistant Corporate Secretary, Johnson & Johnson

This is my first post on JNJ BTW.

Today, I’m writing on a subject near and dear to my heart—shareholder voting. You may have heard that earlier this month the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a number of corporate governance reforms aimed at shoring up investor confidence. You can read about all of those reforms in the SEC’s press release, but I’d like to highlight in this post what is perhaps the most significant of these reforms—one that may directly impact you if you own Johnson & Johnson stock through a brokerage account–the elimination of the “broker vote” in uncontested director elections.

For those of you who don’t live and breathe this subject, I’ll attempt to translate that into plain English.
Previously, under the rules of the New York Stock Exchange, if stock brokers didn’t receive instructions from clients on how to vote their shares on the election of the board of directors at an upcoming annual meeting, the broker had the discretion to vote those uninstructed shares as they deemed appropriate. Since typically retail brokerage account holders who did vote tended to vote in favor of the recommendations made by the listed company’s management team, most brokers voted uninstructed shares along management’s recommendations.

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August 4th, 2009

The Closing Bell

2009 marks the 65th year that Johnson & Johnson has been listed as a public company on the New York Stock Exchange. To commemorate this event, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Weldon, Chief Financial Officer Dominic Caruso and a bunch of other folks involved with our investor and shareholder activity yesterday rang the closing bell at the exchange.

Twelve of my collegues squeezed on to the historic balcony overlooking the noisy floor of the 217-year-old exchange to literally bring trading to a halt as the clock struck 4. You can catch the footage here.

A lot of thoughtful planning goes into the bell-ringing ceremony, with participants encouraged to arrive as early as 3 p.m. As we were making their way to the balcony at around 3:50, something prompted one of our group to ask their NYSE host if any ceremonial bell-ringing individual or organization had ever shown up late for the job. As a matter of fact, he was told, just recently one celebrity performer was quite upset to arrive a couple minutes late and discover they hadn’t held up the exchange closing for him.

To mark this moment, Margaret (as usual!!!) pulled out some fascinating facts and information about what it was like 65 years ago when the company first made the move from being a privately-held company to being listed on the NYSE.

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August 3rd, 2009

Image of the week

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ALIA (Associação Londrinense Interdisciplinar de AIDS)
Londrina, Brazil
 
ALIA protects the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS and helps prevent the spread of disease through scientific and social programs. Our partnership with ALIA helps protect at-risk teens from HIV/AIDS and includes a strong dose of education about sexuality and reproductive rights.
 
Here, the photographer captures the passion that ALIA’s co-founder Silvana brings to her work. Community-based education is key to ALIA’s success in reaching teens at high-risk of the disease due to their social and personal vulnerability. ALIA promotes teenagers’ leadership and empowerment by focusing on community participation.

 

(Photographer: Kelly Shimoda, a Johnson & Johnson – International Center of Photography Fellowship recipient)

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August 1st, 2009

Letter to the Editor on Exclusivity on Biosimilars

In a letter to the editor in today’s Washington Post, Jay P. Siegel, Chief Biotechnology Officer, Johnson & Johnson, explained his support for longer exclusivity periods for biologics in response to a recent editorial that argued for fewer years of data protection. As Jay described:

“While patents provide protection against identical competitors, they often do not provide protection against variants that could be deemed biosimilar.

In contrast to The Post’s assertion, this situation would leave wiggle room for a biosimilar company to work around patents, allowing competition far sooner than would be possible for traditional generic drugs and thereby failing to maintain adequate incentives for innovation.

Data-exclusivity — the period before a competitor can use an innovator product’s clinical data to gain FDA approval — provides an alternative tool for achieving a fair balance. Data exclusivity of 12 to 14 years for biologics creates parity with the de facto 12 to 14 years of exclusivity before generics are allowed for traditional drugs under the 1984 Hatch-Waxman Act, which has achieved good balance.”

Read the entire letter here

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July 29th, 2009

New Way RA

From Brian Kenney, Senior Director, Corporate Communications, Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc.

 

Today’s blogosphere provides vivid personal accounts about the realities of what it is like to live with a chronic condition like rheumatoid arthritis (RA). There exists a very active community of RA bloggers (such as All Flared Up, The Single Gal’s Guide to Rheumatoid Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy, and Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior) who share perspectives and questions about many related topics.

 

Listening to the perspectives of this social community has helped us to understand more about how RA can affect a person’s quality of life. For example, everyday activities that most of us take for granted – participating in family or work activities, spending time with friends, dating, exercising – can be daunting when someone must contend with stiff, swollen and painful joints routinely, and untimely flares of such symptoms.

 

There is a new online talk show, New Way RA, that focuses exclusively on addressing topics of overall health and well-being for people living with RA. The show provides expert advice and practical information through an engaging and accessible web-based format. Visitors to the site can view the entire show online, listen to real-life anecdotes from people living with RA, register to receive a free copy of the DVD, and access resources for more information.

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July 22nd, 2009

A Healthy Partnership

From Mai Kristofferson, Corporate Communication

They say ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ Well, for many members of the nearby New Brunswick community, (where our world headquarters is located) fresh produce hasn’t always been readily available. That is, until Rutgers University and the city of New Brunswick teamed up to establish a bi-weekly farmer’s market with the help of a grant from Johnson & Johnson.

Opened recently, the market is all about encouraging healthy lifestyle choices in New Jersey inter-cities, especially for those of modest means. Not only can people who visit the market buy locally grown fruits and vegetables, but they can learn about nutrition counseling, cooking demonstrations, and food budgeting and safety practices as well.

When we heard about it, Marc, Rob and I packed up our bags (and a video camera) and headed over to check it out. You can learn more about this effort in this video we put together at the ribbon-cutting ceremony:

 

As I was sitting in the summer sun at the ribbon cutting ceremony, I was struck by just how important access to fresh fruits and vegetables can be to the health of an entire community. As Rutgers President Richard McCormick explained, many of us fill our diets with empty calories and unhealthy foods.

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July 20th, 2009

Celebrating Scientific Achievements

By Frederik Wittock, Senior Director, Global Communications, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Services, L.L.C., Division of Janssen Pharmaceutica, N.V.

Each year, we honor the work of passionate and creative scientists who have made an impact on human health through the Dr. Paul Janssen Award for Biomedical Research. Dr. Paul Janssen, better known as Dr. Paul, founded Janssen Pharmaceutica, N.V. in 1953 (Janssen Pharmaceutica, N.V. joined the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies in 1961). Dr. Paul was a gifted and dedicated physician and scientist who helped save millions of lives through his contribution to the discovery and development of more than 80 medicines.

 

This year’s award winner, Axel Ullrich, Ph.D., director of the Department of Molecular Biology at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Germany, certainly embodies the spirit of Dr. Paul. The work of Dr. Ullrich has helped to significantly improve the lives of those with chronic diseases, including diabetes and cancer. His discoveries have led to novel cancer therapies and genetically engineered human insulin, among others.

 

I had the opportunity to attend the award announcement in London during the 6th annual World Conference of Science Journalists, of which Johnson & Johnson is a sponsor. This was the perfect venue to celebrate the achievements of Dr.

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July 17th, 2009

Image of the Week

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Kick Start Farms

Nairobi, Kenya
 
With the goal of eliminating poverty,
Kick Start develops low-cost agricultural and construction equipment for micro-entrepreneurs in Africa, allowing local farmers and craftsmen to develop profitable small-scale enterprises, creating jobs and promoting sustainable economic growth. Johnson & Johnson supports Kick Start’s work in Kenya.
 
The photographer, Willie Davis, captures the pensive look of a Kenyan woman who stands amidst the crop that would have been difficult, if not impossible, to grow without the use of Kick Start’s micro-irrigation technologies. These technologies provide the means for Kenyan farmers to develop very profitable small businesses. The close focus of Davis’ photograph creates a delicate image that contrasts the lush green trees with the woman’s face.

 

(Photographer: Willie Davis, a Johnson & Johnson – International Center of Photography Fellowship recipient)

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July 2nd, 2009

A Case for Comparative Effectiveness Research

From Pat Molino, Vice President, Public Affairs & Corporate Citizenship, Johnson & Johnson

How can doctors and patients know which therapies or procedures are the best ways to treat different medical conditions? Comparative effectiveness research, which compares therapeutic approaches, has been posited as a key way to get answers to these questions, and it’s become part of the ongoing health care reform debate in the U.S.

In an editorial in this morning’s Washington Post, Johnson & Johnson Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bill Weldon shared his perspective on the topic. weldon In his editorial, Bill said that when used properly, comparative effectiveness research – or CER — can help create a more efficient, quality-focused, and patient-centered health care system that maintains incentives for innovation and growth. Though recognizing that there are “many patient groups, physicians and developers of treatments” who are concerned that CER could be used to restrict access to a broad range of treatments, Bill explained that:

“…that doesn’t have to be what happens here. By carefully allotting the stimulus funding, the federal government can lay the groundwork for how a permanent institute devoted to comparing treatments could work.

Achieving this goal involves addressing the concerns of those who worry about the impact of this research on access to treatment.

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