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EF: 2020 was the year of diagnostics, and 2021 was the year of vaccines. When we look back at 2022, what will we call the year and why?
JC: 2022 has been the year of recovering from the pandemic, a year of reconnecting in person, internally with our colleagues, but also externally with our key stakeholders. The value of innovation has been made clearer than ever with the vaccine for COVID-19, a reason we are together again as a team, connecting and having in-person engagement with our customers again. It's also a year to continue effectively delivering the value proposition of our innovation to benefit patients in Colombia.
EF: When you were appointed in February, what mission did you set yourself for this new role?
JC: My mission was to maximize the number of patients that benefit from our innovative products. We challenged the status quo to boost the value we deliver to patients. Our team has had a winning mindset, being proud of the portfolio that we have today and the pipeline we will continue to have in the future to lead in the spaces we compete in, objectively to transform health for humanity.
EF: How has your portfolio adjusted beyond the vaccine, and how do you expect it to evolve in the coming years?
JC: Janssen has historically invested disproportionately in research and development and capitalized on the science internally and externally to drive patient transformation. We have been strong in oncology, immunology, cardiovascular, metabolic diseases, neuroscience, infectious diseases and vaccines, and pulmonary hypertension. We plan to continue investing in areas with high medical needs since our priority is to leverage science to find solutions for the unmet medical needs of patients.
EF: To what extent do you have local innovation capacity in your cluster, and how are you promoting innovation?
JC: At a global level, Johnson and Johnson is focused on innovation. The value of innovation has never been clearer; we have different examples. We have the COVID-19 vaccine that has been a transformation at a global level from a health perspective. There are other examples, HIV; our legacy in that therapeutic area has evolved from HIV being a deadly disease at some point to being manageable.
That's the value of innovation, transforming and improving patients' quality of life in the areas we serve. Locally, our focus is on collaborating as we have done historically, and nothing will change. Patients at the centre and collaborating with all the stakeholders in the system to deliver transformational value for them.
This has been our strategy for 120 years. Since J&J has been in the market, the patient has been at the centre of our work. Our responsibility is to collaborate with stakeholders in the system to drive access to those patients. It is important to innovate, but on the other hand, we must also focus on maximizing and facilitating access to those treatments for patients.
EF: Between the public and the private sector, how can we increase partnerships in Colombia, and what benefits can we expect to see from that?
JC: We launched a project called "OnColombia" last year. We have different treatments for prostate cancer, the most prevalent cancer in males here and in other places around the world. We have partnered with the urology medical association to provide education on prostate cancer in remote areas within the country.
While the status quo is focusing on the big cities in Colombia, we are challenging that and going beyond that together with a medical association to drive continuous medical education in remote areas so that the patient is diagnosed early. The prognosis of that patient is more positive because they had access to treatment earlier.
This is an example of how we collaborate with different stakeholders in the system, obviously having the patient at the centre. I had the responsibility for COVID-19 in my previous role for the region, and I couldn't be prouder of the company I am part of because J&J’s COVID-19 operations ran on a not-for-profit basis during the pandemic period. It was a real pleasure to be part of that journey and contribute to a special time for humanity.
EF: Could you elaborate a little bit on how your digital transformation is happening and the potential benefits we could see from that?
JC: Digital transformation is one of the pillars driving the future of Janssen. We are working together to invest in creating the capability to ingrain this in our pharmaceutical working dynamic.
First, we are leveraging where people and patients spend their most time, something that's transparent today as people spend most of their time in the digital world. Second, we are in line with the needs of our stakeholders. The digital world brings personalization, based on our market research, a need that is evolving in our stakeholders.
Another important aspect is that we can maximize access to health in areas that probably don't have the infrastructure and capabilities that other bigger cities have. We are part of this trend, investing in that area, and we are confident that this will benefit patients.
EF: Where do you see the role of healthcare in developing the economy of Colombia?
JC: Health is a base for any economy. From my perspective, it's a responsibility for a company like J&J, the number one healthcare company in the world, to assume challenges that other companies perhaps can't because of our scale. I believe that we must also deliver growth while impacting more patients and driving transformation in health.
EF: What makes talented individuals want to join Janssen, and how do you sustain this over the years to keep people wanting to come back?
JC: The value proposition for employees to join the company and want to stay is based on two important pillars. First, having a clear purpose. Waking up every day and being away from your family, you're investing this precious time towards a goal that benefits humanity. It reflects in our everyday decisions.
Second is our focus on development. J&J has a very strong development process based on clear feedback, opportunities for advancement, and opportunities for exposure. Being the biggest healthcare company in the world, people have a broad array of opportunities to develop diverse experiences across sectors, geographies, and different functions.
EF: What advice would you give to young generation women who would like to follow your path to become a successful leaders in the healthcare industry?
JC: Number one for me is the power of diversity of experiences. We differentiate ourselves from the breadth of experiences we have, especially in big companies; this helps us to lead in different environments and prepare ourselves for advancement. Second, you will never be 100% ready for your next role. We need to have confidence in ourselves and the company because the company believes that we can have the impact on patients that we want to have. Confidence is a critical point. Third, the importance of well-being. We need to find a system that works for each of us to help us be our best selves at home, which correlates directly to being our best selves at work to benefit more patients.
EF: What is the thing that you are most proud of being at Janssen, and what will you celebrate at the end of your first year in this new role?
JC: I started as a sales representative in Venezuela; I was new in the pharma world. I had the opportunity to see first-hand the impact Janssen has on patients. I heard stories from patients who didn't get a chance to have a quality of life, go to work, or spend time with their families because of debilitating diseases, that had the opportunity to live a normal life again, thanks to Janssen.
I'm most proud of dedicating my time, energy, and passion to building another story for patients, in my case, in Colombia. That's what I want my team and I to celebrate at the end of the year. All the passion, the energy, the time invested, and everything to have an impact on patients who can have another opportunity in life, thanks to everything we do. In Janssen, our mission never stops.
We will continue to be dedicated to discovering, developing, and delivering these advanced and transformational medicines. Most importantly, address the most serious unmet medical needs out there. Our mission continues, and we will not stop when we celebrate at the end of the year.