Read the Conversation
EF: What was JANSSEN Colombia´s role during this past year?
MP: This past year we focused mainly on delivering healthcare to new patients and maintaining adherence in our existing patient base. As a result of the pandemic, many patients had to delay their consultations, so We focused on getting patients moving across the health continuum and treating our current base to our best possibilities. We have several injectable products, and getting the patients to come in for their infusions has been difficult. J&J is a company that focuses on communities and we are deeply involved in many social causes. Colombia has suffered hunger and unemployment and we have been present and active in supporting and trying to help people.
EF: What would be your advice on managing in times of transition?
MP: Focus, clarity of goals and take care of the team. One must prioritize and go after the transformational priorities that will get results, so i) focus and ii) provide employees with space: with the pandemic we spend many long hours at a computer so spaces need to be created for our employees to do other things, concentrate on their families and wellbeing as leisure time is critical for their mental health and productivity. It’s not only about them being able to work but about them having the right conditions to do so, and if the environment is right they will be comfortable and productive and the company will also thrive. We did well as a company last year in Colombia, the market grew -pharma, in general, did very well last year- but that doesn’t mean other sectors are as robust and we have to help with those realities.
EF: What is your footprint and how has your portfolio evolved over this last year in Colombia?
MP: Janssen is focused on six therapeutic areas: Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases, Immunology, Infectious, Diseases & Vaccines, Neuroscience, Oncology, and Pulmonary Hypertension. We are concentrating the most on oncology, hematology and Immunology as we have new product launches. We are market leaders in several of the categories we compete in Colombia and we are working on getting our new technologies registered which are transformational both for the company and for the market. We are working together with AFIDRO to get legislation for advanced technology because the legal frame does not exist. A lot is going on in our pipeline and we have a lot of plans for Colombia in the near future. We will bring new procedures unlike anything that has existed in the country before and it has been a fascinating challenge.
EF: How did you manage to attract resources to Colombia from your headquarters?
MP: The best way to attract resources is with positive results and achieving objectives. We need to demonstrate that we can make proper use of those resources, using them for the good of the patient -getting new and more patients into treatments. Thanks to our team here in Colombia we have managed to attract a lot of resources to the country and we have been growing quite nicely and hopefully, in the years to come we will maintain this good trend and continue to help more and more patients in the country.
EF: What is your definition of access?
MP: To paraphrase an old boss of mine, access is getting the drug to the patient; it is that easy, if the patient isn’t getting the drug they need there is no access and we need to solve the obstacles in the middle. The issues can be funding, network problems, etc. But regardless of the cost or barriers, access simply means patients receiving necessary drugs. This can be a big challenge, and we are working to help as much as we can to solve it.
EF: A few years down the road when you look back to this period, what would you like your 2020/2021 tenure to be remembered for?
MP: These are difficult times. It took us a while to become aware of the impact of the lockdown. I hope what will stay in the memory of our people is that the team worked at its best and we were able to manage and cope with the situation, focusing our efforts on what was important, and deliver on our commitments. We managed to serve patients, to continue delivering healthcare while taking care of our own people and the communities in which we served.