October 2nd, 2012

In Memory of James E. Burke

We are saddened this week by the news that former Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO James E. Burke passed away on Friday, September 28. Mr. Burke was an extraordinary leader and a testament to all that we stand for as a company.
Please join us in remembering and honoring Mr. Burke and the contributions he made to Johnson & Johnson and to the world. Johnson & Johnson paid tribute today with this advertisement in several major U.S. newspapers:

To learn more about Mr. Burke and his career, please read our news release and our post on the Kilmer House blog.

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October 2nd, 2012

A Young Science Journalist’s Impressions on the 2012 Dr. Paul Janssen Award

By Bob Hackett, Science Journalism Intern at Janssen R&D

I read in the theme of this year’s Dr. Paul Janssen AwardThe Power of Science to Change the World—an unwritten corollary; how apparently small things can disproportionately impact the large.  Science brims with underdogs.  And science progresses through the dust clouds they leave in their wake.

Left to right: Dr. Gary Ruvkun and Dr. Victor Ambros

2012 winners holding their respective Dr. Paul Janssen Awards

So it was with this year’s winners.  Dr. Victor Ambros and Dr. Gary Ruvkun co-discovered micro-RNAs, a class of miniature molecules, essential to life (human included), by looking inside unwitting, minuscule roundworms known as Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans for short), a nematode.  Micro-RNAs are, as their name suggests, tiny.  Typically only twenty-one nucleotides long.  (Coincidentally, as many letters as are in “Caenorhabditis elegans”.)  Yet scientists believe micro-RNAs to be central regulators of gene expression and development—essential to our every breath, movement, sight, sleep, digestion, cognition.  Without them life is jeopardized and abnormalities abound.  So small yet so vital.

My love for science stems from such underdogs.  The micro-molecules, the mini-worms, the first few researchers who devote themselves to poking around inside…

If you wonder why a company like Janssen would be interested in such arcane science, it is because Dr.

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September 21st, 2012

On World Alzheimer’s Day, Let’s Work to Eliminate Stigma about Dementia

By Husseini K. Manji, MD, Global Head, Neuroscience Therapeutic Area, Janssen Research & Development, LLC

September is World Alzheimer’s Month, and today is World Alzheimer’s Day – the culmination of a coordinated international effort to raise awareness and challenge the stigma around dementia.

The 2012 World Alzheimer Report released today focuses on the global impact of stigma associated with dementia, including a review of current knowledge in the area and results of a global survey on stigma.  Not surprisingly, the stigma and associated social exclusion experienced by people with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers is one of the disease’s most devastating effects.  According to the report, 40 percent of people with dementia say they have been avoided or treated differently because of their diagnosis and are not included in everyday life.   Statistics like this are all the more meaningful because most of us have been personally affected by Alzheimer’s in our own families, or know someone who has.

More than 36 million people worldwide are living with dementia and by 2030, this number will have nearly doubled to 66 million. These numbers are staggering and the need is greater than ever for new solutions for patients and their loved ones.  But there is also reason to hope. 

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September 12th, 2012

Finding Support When Facing Serious Illness

By Denise Sitarik, RN, Vice President, Johnson & Johnson Patient Assistance Foundation, Inc.

In her book Illness as Metaphor Susan Sontag wrote that “everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick…[and] sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.”

It’s true that we all want to remain permanent citizens in the world of good health, but at some point we all face illness, whether our own or that of a loved one. As a registered nurse, I know first-hand the challenges patients experience when they are diagnosed with a chronic illness:  physical pain and discomfort, fatigue, fear, and anxiety.  I have seen the physical and emotional toll chronic illness takes on patients, caregivers and their families and the tremendous energy required to deal with the day-to-day difficulties of illness. There is also the challenge of navigating the complexity of the US healthcare system. The sudden dependence on family and friends and the worry that comes from the financial impact of illness can be overwhelming.

At the Johnson & Johnson Patient Assistance Foundation (JJPAF), we try to help with the burden of chronic illness by assisting patients who meet eligibility requirements to get medicines they need.

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September 7th, 2012

Janssen Featured at White House World Hepatitis Day Activities


By Gaston Picchio, Hepatitis Disease Area Leader, Janssen

As a scientist involved in hepatitis C research for 20 years, it is very gratifying to see the recent explosion of advances against this disease. Often called the silent epidemic, hepatitis C is the most prevalent form of viral hepatitis in the United States.  Globally, it is estimated that three percent of the world’s population–up to 170 million people–is currently infected with hepatitis C.  In the United States, an estimated 3.2 million people are infected, but most don’t know it, and every year approximately 12,000 Americans die from hepatitis C-related liver disease.

While most days at Janssen we strive to make a difference for patients through our research to create simpler, safer and more effective treatments for hepatitis C, on August 2, at the second annual White House World Hepatitis Day Event, I had the opportunity to share my thoughts about how Janssen can help make a difference in another way: through public and industry partnerships.

Janssen is one of several companies that were invited to the White House to be part of the discussion about the current state of viral hepatitis in the United States. The event was sponsored by The Office of National AIDS Policy in collaboration with the U.S.

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September 4th, 2012

Greening our Hospitals Will Reduce Healthcare Costs Now and in the Future

By Al Iannuzzi Sr. Director Product Stewardship, WW Environment, Health & Safety

As I discussed in an earlier post, “greening” the healthcare system is a hot topic these days.  Healthcare facilities have a distinct and pivotal opportunity to improve their sustainability. To function and provide 24-hour services in the United States, hospitals require significant amounts of energy and water, and generate a lot of waste.   If they could reduce that waste, increase energy efficiency, purchase greener products and conserve water, hospitals could reduce their environmental impact significantly, lower overall costs and help improve the health of surrounding communities.

Because this is such a focus for hospitals – and a passion of mine — I was honored to participate in a recent forum hosted by the White House Council on Environmental Quality on “Greening America’s Hospitals.” Helping manufacturers and the hospitals that buy our products find pathways to sustainability is critical for the families and patients who rely on our industry, the healthcare industry and our planet.   Based on our track record of environmentally-friendly business practices, which goes back more than 20 years , Johnson & Johnson has been honored by organizations such as Interbrand, Newsweek and Practice Greenhealth as a leader in sustainability.  

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August 27th, 2012

IBD Icons – Casey Abrams Inspires Others to Live Beyond Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease

From:  Linda Davis and Megan Farina, Communications, Janssen Biotech and Casey Abrams, musician

Imagine being told, in your first year of college, you have a chronic disease and there is no cure.  Now, add painful and embarrassing symptoms that keep you from participating in activities that you once loved and potentially changing how you live your life .

Welcome to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

IBD  includes the unpredictable digestive diseases ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease and impacts 1.4 million Americans, most diagnosed between 15 and 30 years of age.

Due to the nature of both UC and Crohn’s, some patients are reluctant to seek a doctor’s advice and rely on finding information on-line and connecting with others through social media.  So, how do we raise awareness of these often misunderstood diseases and inspire people who suffer to seek support?

In 2011, Season 10 American Idol finalist Casey Abrams attracted headlines when he was hospitalized during the competition due to his UC.  Despite these health challenges, Casey was one of 11 finalists to earn a coveted spot on the 2011 Idol Live summer concert tour.

Partnering with Casey and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), we launched the IBD Icons disease awareness campaign – centered around a national search to identify “IBD Icons” who submitted their personal stories of achievement, like Casey’s. 

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August 20th, 2012

August, the Month to Raise Awareness about Psoriasis!

From Craig Stoltz, Director, Product Communication, Immunology, Janssen Biotech, Inc.

August in Pennsylvania, where I’m based, is usually a time of year when you can go to the local pool for a dip, crank up the air conditioning to chill indoors, spend quality time with friends and family, or find some other way to just simply relax.  You may even decide to take a vacation, escaping the hustle and bustle of work to enjoy a new adventure that doesn’t require conference calls, meetings and deadlines. One thing you may not have thought to do this month is to help raise awareness of an often misunderstood disease.  One that prevents many of the people living with it from doing the activities mentioned above due to scaly plaques on their skin.

With the exception of December, August has the fewest National Health Observances, which may be a result of the nature of the month. With that as background, we want to point out that August is Psoriasis Awareness Month.  At Janssen Biotech, we are honored to do our part to raise awareness of this condition that can place a heavy physical and emotional toll on millions of Americans.  In doing so, we  fondly recall the inspiring people touched by this condition who we’ve met through the years as part of our educational initiatives and participation at National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) Walks to Cure Psoriasis. 

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August 15th, 2012

Our Safety and Care Commitment


From Susan Nettesheim, Vice President, Product Stewardship and Toxicology

Today we launched a new website, SafetyandCareCommitment.com, that lets people know all we do to be sure that the baby and beauty care products they use are as safe as can be. As head of Product Stewardship and Toxicology here at Johnson & Johnson’s Family of Consumer Companies, I know all the measures we take… we just didn’t have a forum to tell the rest of the world about it. Now we do.

Over the past few years, some interest groups have raised questions about the ingredients in personal care products used widely around the world, and they’ve put particular focus on our baby products. At first we were disappointed, because we know that all our products are safe by scientific standards and meet or exceed government regulations. Over time, though, we’ve come to realize that sometimes safety alone isn’t enough. There’s a vigorous public discussion going on around the world about what ingredients should or shouldn’t be in personal care products, and how they should be regulated. We have a point of view that we’ve expressed, based on our considered understanding of the science involved, and that’s always going to be our starting point.

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August 14th, 2012

Seeing the Differences We Make In Our Communities


From Berkley Pollard, Director, Clinical Quality Assurance, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.


Attendees at the National urban League Conference having their vision checked at the Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. vision care station.

Recently, I attended the National Urban League conference (NUL) in New Orleans to help with a program sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., which offered free vision evaluations to the neighboring communities.

The NUL conference is a national forum that helps create solutions to the challenges confronting African Americans and urban communities. Glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy are the leading causes of blindness in African Americans.

This is the third year we’ve sponsored free evaluations and, for me, by far the most rewarding. At last year’s conference, it took us three days to convince a woman who was working at a nearby booth to get her eyes evaluated. She was convinced that she did not need a vision evaluation because she had 20/20 vision. After we explained to her that it was a quick process and wouldn’t cost her anything, she agreed.  The evaluation confirmed that she had 20/20 vision, but it also showed that she was at risk of having a detached retina.

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