May 23rd, 2014

An Ethicon Donation That Improves Access to Much-needed Surgery

By Denis Robson, Director, African Affairs, Johnson & Johnson Medical UK

Today marks the first anniversary of the International Day to End Obstetric Fistula, announced last year by the United Nations. And while there are many “days” to help the global health and development communities raise awareness about pressing challenges, fistula holds a special significance.

Two decades ago, a surgeon in Ethiopia, Dr. Catherine Hamlin, made an appeal for absorbable sutures for use in surgeries to repair obstetric fistula, a debilitating childbirth injury that causes uncontrollable leaking of feces or urine. Women suffering from fistula are often shunned by their husbands and communities, and forced to live in isolation.

Sheila Rinning, who worked in the export department in Edinburgh, Scotland for Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, responded to Dr. Hamlin’s call. Little did she know that this would be the beginning of a partnership that has lasted nearly two decades, and led to thousands of life-saving surgeries for women in need.

Following Dr. Hamlin’s appeal, Sheila devoted time each month to prepare four separate packages containing absorbable and silk sutures for use in fistula surgeries. Why separate? The postal service couldn’t reliably deliver the package to their destination in Ethiopia – so four packages were sent separately, with the hope that at least one would make it to the destination in Addis Ababa.

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May 20th, 2014

The Eyes Have It: Exposure to UV Rays a Silent Threat to Vision

By Millicent Knight, OD, Head of Professional Affairs, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, North America

May is Healthy Vision Month, a perfect time to ask: Are we taking the proper precautions to protect our eyes?  Unfortunately, the answer is no. Eyes may be windows to the soul, but they are also windows for harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can cause silent, long-term damage on our vision that may occur decades later.

This issue is particularly timely with summer around the corner—a season in which it’s almost intuitive to lather on the sunscreen before we head to the beach.  While most Americans understand the link between UV radiation and skin cancer, many are less aware of the connection between UV radiation and eye damage. Yet the truth is that harmful UV rays are not just bad for skin; they also can inflict significant eye damage over time. Worldwide some 12 to 15 million people become blind from cataracts annually, of which up to 20% may be caused or enhanced by sun exposure according to estimates from The World Health Organization1. UV rays also have been linked to other ocular conditions.

What’s more, UV rays can cause short-term conditions such as photokeratitis (a corneal inflammation) and photoconjunctivitis (an inflammation of the conjunctiva under the eyelid).

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May 19th, 2014

Supporting Global Awareness for IBD and Arthritis

Editor’s Note: Today, May 19, in recognition of World IBD Day and World Autoimmune Arthritis Day, Janssen supports our advocacy partners in raising global awareness for the millions of people worldwide living with these chronic, inflammatory diseases.

This week, JanssenResearch & Development joins the European Federation of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis Association (EFCCA) and International Foundation for Autoimmune Arthritis (IFAA) to observe World IBD Day and World Autoimmune Arthritis Day (WAAD).

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and autoimmune arthritis represent significant public health issues, with five million people worldwide affected by ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease and as many as 120 million individuals affected by rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis worldwide. Such statistics are a staggering reminder of how important it is that we all work together to address inflammatory diseases like these and improve the quality of life for so many people who are managing sever cramps, vomiting and diarrhea caused by IBD; or swollen, painful joints from a form of autoimmune arthritis.

Janssen is focused on exploring new areas of science and establishing unique collaborations, utilizing novel approaches to deliver transformational medicines. We also support ongoing research in the community, serving as the sole industry sponsor for an IFAA patient study aimed at identifying early symptoms of autoimmune arthritis that may inform earlier detection, referrals, diagnosis and treatment.

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May 16th, 2014

Joining Debbie Allen on the Dance Floor for Type 2 Diabetes Education

Editor’s Note: Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., award-winning actress and choreographer Debbie Allen, and the television show So You Think You Can Dance announced the launch of a new initiative called the T2 Dance Crew. This national education and wellness program encourages people with type 2 diabetes to increase physical activity as an important part of managing their condition. Our Corporate Blog team talked with Debbie to find out more about the project.

Debbie Allen560

BlogJNJ:Diabetes is a growing epidemic in the United States, affecting nearly 26 million people. Why is this important to you personally?

Debbie Allen: My father had type 2 diabetes and I saw firsthand how challenging it was for him to manage the disease. He tried to make some changes to his lifestyle, but the one thing I couldn’t get him to do was exercise more. I lost my father early, to diabetes complications, at the age of 63. A life-long dancer myself, I knew there was an opportunity to help motivate others to be active – and actively manage their type 2 diabetes. It’s a growing problem in our country and especially among racial and ethnic minorities, but managing the disease can reduce people’s risk of serious complications.

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May 15th, 2014

Partnering to Protect Women from HIV

Editor’s Note: Last week the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, expanded its collaboration with the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) granting IPM exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture, and market sexual and reproductive health products containing Janssen’s antiretroviral drug dapivirine. This is the latest innovative public-private partnership from the newly established Janssen Global Public Health group and a significant contribution to Johnson & Johnson’s wider efforts to improve public health – and the health of women and girls – worldwide.

Though we’ve made great strides in developing new medicines for HIV, treatment alone is not the solution. Women and girls, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where the HIV epidemic has hit hardest, are particularly vulnerable to infection. In fact, HIV prevalence among young women in sub-Saharan Africa is more than twice as high as that of young men throughout the region. These women and girls need new prevention tools to empower themselves to protect their health.

Paul Stoffels, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson and Worldwide Chairman, Janssen, co-authored an Op-Ed appearing on Global Post with Zeda Rosenberg, Chief Executive Officer, IPM discussing this significant effort and the importance of these types of public-private partnerships benefitting women and girls.

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May 9th, 2014

Tackling the Human Energy Crisis

By Jack Groppel, Co-founder, Human Performance Institute, a Johnson & Johnson Company

Twenty-five years ago, life seemed much simpler, didn’t it? We didn’t have as much technology to stay connected, work was confined to the hours of 9-5 and the pace just seemed a little more relaxed. In those days, when we left work, it was actually hard to find us; people had to go out of their way to contact us. Today, we live in a very different world and balancing demands of work and family – especially when all aspects seem to run 24/7 – takes more time and effort.

If you’re nodding in agreement, it is not just a matter of “remembering the good ol’ days;” it’s the result of a legitimate human energy crisis. If you look at our current society – whether it’s the growing rates of obesity, diabetes or general inactivity – we’ve become a multi-tasking, overscheduled culture with very few boundaries in both our personal and professional lives.

The good news is there are some basic principles of sport science that we can apply to every aspect of our lives to help manage our energy. For example:

  • Do some form of physical activity daily; some exercise is always better than nothing at all
  • Read a bed time story with your children every night to help you connect with what matters most in your life
  • Strategically disengage every 90-120 minutes to help you perform at your best
  • Focus your energy on what you want, not on what you don’t want

These principles – and many others – can help everyday people fight the human energy crisis and perform at their personal best as employees, family members, friends and selves.

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May 5th, 2014

Supporting World Asthma Day

Editor’s Note: In recognition of World Asthma Day, which is Tuesday, May 6, Janssen pledges its continued focus to advance disease understanding, medicines and solutions for people living with asthma worldwide.

Janssen Research & Development proudly joins the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) in support of World Asthma Day, an annual event intended to improve asthma awareness and care for this difficult-to-treat, and potentially, life-threatening disease that affects more than 300 million people worldwide.

Janssen continues to advance the scientific understanding of the condition, and work towards the discovery, development and ultimately, the delivery of treatments for patients living with severe asthma. We are evaluating the heterogeneity of patients living with pulmonary disease to understand the underlying disease biology, seeking to provide better personalized treatment options no matter what the severity of the symptoms entails.

Our goal, together with internal and external collaboration partners, is to help people live a vibrant and healthy life, free from the debilitating symptoms associated with this life-altering disease.

You can learn more about this disease and our efforts – and share the information with others – in our latest infographic.

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April 30th, 2014

Wanted: Sustainable Palm Oil

By Paulette Frank, Vice President, Sustainability, Johnson & Johnson Family of Consumer Companies

Palm oil is a high-yielding, versatile crop used in everything from food to fuel to soap. But this highly sought after ingredient has a dark side. Increasing demand for palm oil has led to deforestation of the world’s most sensitive eco-systems. Companies like ours, wishing to find sustainable sources of palm oil, have found the path to be a windy one. The palm oil landscape, figuratively and literally, is constantly changing. And if there is one lesson we’ve learned over the years we have been working to source sustainable palm oil, it’s that we have to be open to adjusting our course. That is what we are doing today by making public our Responsible Palm Oil Sourcing Criteria.

This criteria is the latest step in a journey that started in 2006 when we joined the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) – a multi-stakeholder organization that developed a set of principles and criteria for certified sustainable palm oil. We then began purchasing GreenPalm certificates in 2010 covering a volume equal to 100% of our palm oil derivatives (ingredients that come from palm oil).   GreenPalm certificates support the production of certified palm oil by providing a financial reward to the growers who are certified to the RSPO standard.

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April 29th, 2014

Partnering to Increase Recycling in the U.S.

By Roberto Marques, Johnson & Johnson, Company Group Chairman, Consumer North America

This morning I participated in an important event with Walmart in Arkansas, and I’m thrilled to share my experiences with you now. Alongside the senior executives of Pepsi, Goldman Sachs, P&G and Unilever (to name a few), I announced on behalf of our company that we would became a founding partner of the Closed Loop Fund. What is the Closed Loop Fund? Well, simply put, it’s an innovative investment vehicle that will help finance projects aimed at increasing recycling in the U.S.

This fund, one of the first of its kind, will make low-interest loans — not grants — to specific projects resulting in a more sustainable flow of funding for recycling efforts. These loans will be available for four types of projects: large-scale recycling carts/capacity equipment, organics processing facilities, emerging technologies, and community education/campaigns. Johnson & Johnson is a founding partner, along with other companies that are the first to commit to the fund.

So why are we involved and why is this so exciting for us?

You know babies hold a special place in our hearts at J&J, as we know that “Our Babies Will Inherit Our Planet®.” That is why we are committed, today and every day, to care for the planet that cares for us. 

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April 29th, 2014

Championing Collaboration to Tackle Unmet Public Health Needs

By Paul Stoffels, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson and Worldwide Chairman, Janssen

One of my lifelong goals was to change the treatment landscape for tuberculosis, especially for patients affected by multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). MDR-TB is a particularly deadly and hard-to-treat form of TB. It kills many people every year, especially those already affected by HIV and it threatens the progress made in the fight against TB globally.

Although there is broad consensus that it is imperative to stop TB, resistance to most TB treatments is largely a manmade challenge. Improper use of TB antibiotics due to inadequate drug supply, limited diagnostics, poor prescribing practices, vulnerable patient populations and limited data are just a few of the challenges fueling the cycle of resistance.

National TB programs, dedicated advocates, scientists and industry each have something to offer in the fight against MDR-TB, but collaboration among all of us is crucial. At Janssen, we are able to offer new treatment options and support clinical trials, and through partnerships with diverse stakeholders we can also help ensure access and appropriate use in this complex treatment environment.

That’s why we are pleased to announce a collaboration with the Stichting International Dispensary Association (IDA), a procurement agent for the Stop TB Partnership’s Global Drug Facility (GDF) to help reach patients in more than 130 low- and middle-income countries outside of the United States.

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