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


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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June 30th, 2009

What You Need to Know About Acetaminophen

The following post is from Dr. Ed Kuffner, Sr. Director, McNeil Consumer Healthcare

Recently, there have been reports about acetaminophen, the medicine in TYLENOL® and the potential for liver damage if the medicine is misused or taken in overdose amounts. The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a public meeting yesterday and today to discuss this very issue. As the makers of Tylenol, we share the FDA’s goal of helping to ensure that over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medicines are used safely and properly. As a physician, I can tell you that my medical colleagues and I have been actively involved in the conversation – and are committed to finding the right solutions.

What do people need to know about acetaminophen and liver damage? Tylenol, when taken as directed, remains the safest pain reliever people can take. It’s important for people to know that it’s not the recommended dosage of acetaminophen that poses the risk. Rather, it’s when people take more than the recommended dose either intentionally, often because they think it will work better — which is not the case — or unintentionally, often because they don’t realize that several products they are taking at the same time (both prescription and OTC) each contain acetaminophen.

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June 30th, 2009

A Ripple Effect…

A few colleagues and I just completed a trip to Central America where we visited several NGOs with whom we partner on micro-financing projects. You may be asking, so what in the world is micro-financing? Essentially, micro-financing (also known as micro-enterprising or micro-credit) focuses on providing small start-up loans (usually $100 – $500 each) to individuals in resource-poor settings that enable them to create small, community-based businesses to improve their livelihood. This is a growing phenomenon over the past several years; thousands of organizations are doing a wide range of projects around the world.


Micro-financing appears to be an excellent platform upon which to deliver small business training and health education messages in community-based settings.


Our trip included stops in Costa Rica and El Salvador where we visited remote locations to see firsthand just how the concept of micro-financing plays out. A few examples…


In Costa Rica, we partner with Fundebase and APACO on projects that provide loans and a dose of health education, disease prevention, and wellness programs to local communities along the way. We visited with a mother and daughter in Santa Cruz de León Cortéz, for instance, who received a loan to start a sweater-knitting business. The loan enabled them to purchase a knitting machine, yarns and other materials to take a first step.

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June 24th, 2009

Testifying on the Health Reform Bill

Earlier today, Kathy Buto, Vice President for Health Policy here at Johnson & Johnson, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives about the draft Tri-Committee Health Reform Bill . In her formal remarks, Kathy described how reform represents an opportunity to enhance access to healthcare and to improve the affordability of medicines and medical treatments and how the company is convinced that wellness and prevention will improve the healthcare system.

Overall, Kathy emphasized how the company believes that the best healthcare system is one that serves as many people as possible.

Rather than cover all aspects of the draft bill, Kathy focused on topics where Johnson & Johnson could provide some perspective that the committee could find helpful, including wellness and prevention, comparative effectiveness research, Medicare Part D, and options available through the health insurance exchange.

I’ve included a copy of her remarks below for your perusal:

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June 24th, 2009

ADHD — A Family’s Story

After we launched the Johnson & Johnson health channel on YouTube in August of last year, one of the first videos I posted was a series on ADHD which was originally produced by Dr. Nancy Snyderman. The first part called ADHD: A Child’s Diagnosis told the story of Davina Beacham, a 37 year-old artist whose oldest son Brad was recently diagnosed with ADHD. During the course of this diagnosis, Davina discovered that she too had ADD (without the hyperactivity).

Now Davina is a frequent visitor to social media sites like YouTube, and when she saw that the video she was featured in was running on the Johnson & Johnson health channel, she felt compelled to leave a comment. When I saw her comment, I contacted her and asked if she was interested doing a follow up video. We decided that we would, and so I grabbed a cameraman and drove up to Dover, MA, to visit Davina at her home. She and her family were extremely gracious, and we did interviews with Davina, her husband, Hal, and her two boys Brad and George.

Subsequent to the original video two years ago, she also learned that George, her younger son, was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome as well as ADHD.

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June 19th, 2009

So What’s With the New Look?

Some of you may be asking yourself, what’s with the bathroom mirror and medicine cabinet? Where’s that quirky earhorn I’m so fond of???

JNJBTW has been around for more than two years now, and during that time, we’ve learned a great deal. We’ve started to listen a bit more to what is being said online about our business and our industry and have tried, whenever possible, to become part of those conversations.

While we are still learning and growing (hopefully that process will never stop) over the past few months, the earhorn that used to grace the top of the JNJBTW page has increasingly looked out of place.

You see, in the beginning, only a few of us were contributing to the blog and, admittedly, we were a bit unused to listening to people – hence the earhorn.

Today, however, more and more folks within Johnson & Johnson are not only paying attention to what’s being said online, but are turning to JNJBTW to share their stories and perspectives.

And so it was high time for a new look – one that would convey that people from within Johnson & Johnson are now starting to share useful information as well as their own thoughts and experiences on this blog.

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June 17th, 2009

JNJBTW and the Post

JNJBTW received a shout out the other day from one of our nation’s leading newspapers. But it wasn’t the kind of mention of the blog that I felt all that good about. The article concerned how pharmaceutical companies were turning to social media as a way to reach their customers, and listed JNJBTW as one of many examples of how companies were on the social web. It’s a trend we’ve noticed as well, and given the growing number of people who go online for health information, one that will continue. (Note to the Washington Post – Johnson & Johnson isn’t a “pharmaceutical” company – we have substantial medical device and consumer businesses as well. ) According to the paper:

Johnson & Johnson also hosts a blog (http://www.jnjbtw.com) that is largely self-congratulatory about what the company is doing (see “Giving Back Image of the Week”). But it recently had a couple of interesting tidbits, including a J&J expert on the value of corporate wellness programs and a series of tips on keeping kids safe from injury.

I’m glad the writer found the tips from Dr. Isaac and from Safe Kids to be of interest, but I was disappointed to hear that she found the blog – and in particular the Giving Back Image of the Week – to be “self-congratulatory.”

Through JNJBTW I had hoped to provide some of those folks in the corporation who are usually silent an opportunity to be heard and to engage with others online.

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June 9th, 2009

Giving Back Image of the Week

092-peraltaSociety for the Arts in Healthcare Partnership
Stagebridge Senior Theatre Company, Oakland, California

Johnson & Johnson has partnered with the Society for the Arts in Healthcare since 2001 to provide grants to organizations that produce innovative projects to serve patients, their families and caregivers in health care settings, and to promote healing and preventative health.

Stagebridge uses theatre and storytelling to bridge the generation gap and to stimulate positive attitudes toward aging. Stagebridge’s intergenerational programs feature senior theater productions, storytelling in the schools, nurses training programs, acting classes for seniors, and writing contests for children.
These young girls from Peralta Elementary School watch with delight as the Stagebridge storyteller entertains their class.

(Photographer: Shraddha Borawake, a Johnson & Johnson – International Center of Photography Fellowship recipient)

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