Mario Sturion
Director General
Janssen México
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View from the Top

Putting Patient Welfare First

Wed, 09/07/2016 - 15:49

Q: What goals have you set as Director General of Janssen?

A: Aligned with our pharma group strategy, we continue to focus on innovation to prolong and improve the lifespan of Mexican patients. As the pharma market has evolved over time, the competitive advantage will come only by bringing true medical innovation that generates an impact on patient lives. In Mexico the approach is the same: to introduce and provide access to innovative therapies. As an industry and country we face several challenges in healthcare. We must attract and retain the best talent as they are the main element to success. We have a set of values we live by. These values indicate that our first responsibility is to the patients and consumers of our products, followed by our employees and the communities where we live. By getting that right, our shareholders should also receive a fair return. We live by our values and they are taken into account in our decision making processes.

Q: How is it possible to put patients at the center of a healthcare system and what should big pharmaceutical companies do to push for this?

A: We have been working with Mexican Institutions to help bring clinical trials to the country. Those trials will also contribute to develop hospitals and centers of excellence in Mexico. In this way, the medical community, nurses and researchers will have the opportunity to work with the best support in their medical field and Mexican patients can be included in trials with the newest treatments available. The pharmaceutical industry must continue to work to show the value of new innovative treatments and how they can transform Mexican patient’s lives.

Q: What are the main obstacles the new drugs you launched have faced in in the Mexican market?

A: As an industry we need to do more to demonstrate the value of our products. Therapies that will extend a patient’s life reduce the total cost to treat a patient by avoiding further hospitalization, surgeries, co-medications and other medical intervention costs. Capturing those benefits requires a significant effort in emerging markets due to lack of information, fragmented healthcare services and limited electronic patient records. It has

been demonstrated that improvements in healthcare and expanding access to innovative medicines can improve productivity. We are investing in robust medical educational programs as the pace of innovation is very fast. Our commitment is to ensure the correct use of new products. They should treat the right patient with the correct dosage, indication and with the precise method of administration.

Q: What perception shift have you seen in governmental institutions in putting prevention ahead of cost?

A: Everyone agrees that investing in prevention is the better long-term strategy in healthcare but the execution is complex. The earlier you detect and act in healthcare the better the outcome. Janssen established the Disease Interception Accelerator in early 2015, an innovative platform focused on leading a shift from diagnosis and treatment of disease to one of prediction and pre-emption. We began in type 1 diabetes and have since initiated additional ventures in presbyopia, perinatal depression and, most recently, oropharyngeal cancer. The pharma industry needs to help to provide the right perspective when evaluating innovation and move from a limited view of cost to a more broad vision of value for the whole system.

Q: What can you tell us about the program you have in place with UNAM in terms of scientific investigation and human capital?

A: In 2014 Janssen Mexico signed a collaboration agreement with the UNAM in order to develop scientific research in the country. One of the new strategic elements in our Global Research and Development group is that we will augment our internal research with external innovation by implementing open innovation and building collaborations with leading scientists in the world. Universities are great sources of talent. This partnership can allow UNAM to interact with our R&D, medical affairs and clinical operation teams.

Q: What can you tell us about the social programs you have put in place?

A: In 2016 we received the Socially Responsible Enterprise (ESR) recognition for the 15th year in a row. It represents our commitment to social responsibility. It is part of our core values, we are responsible for the communities we live and work with. Worldwide, navigating healthcare can sometimes be difficult and some people need help when they are most vulnerable with a disease. Patient support programs like Enlaces in Mexico help patients under treatment by providing them with services, education and tools. This is a trend in the industry, especially when patients with chronic diseases and under treatment with innovative drugs require special care to take the treatment such as injections or small procedures. They can get the treatment from well-trained healthcare professionals with the necessary equipment and receive nutritional support.

Creative psychological interventions such as art therapy are widely used in combination with drugs to help patients with schizophrenic diseases. Janssen Mexico has developed and sponsored a painting contest called “Sensibilidad sin Límites”, a long-term commitment to provide an additional incentive to patients under art therapy.

Janssen has developed the short story contest called “¿Te cuento mi cuento?” for children with diagnosed attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity, aimed at recognizing creativity and imagination and to reduce disease stigma.

Q: What new projects do you have on the way?

A: We are confident of the impact our new wave of innovative treatments can bring to patients. Janssen is well-positioned to drive continued annual growth until 2019 above the industry average. Our plan is to file more than 10 new molecular entities and more than 40 line extensions by 2019, demonstrating industry-leading R&D productivity.

New treatments for diabetes are an unmet medical need in Mexico. We are going to launch this year a fixed dose combination of canagliflozin and metformin, a new class of drug that uses the kidneys to release glucose. We will continue our efforts in the area of oncology and hematology to launch two new products in 2016 and more in 2017-2019. We have just received regulatory approval for bendamustine in Mexico for hematologic indications. We have a new immunology product in oncology for multiple myeloma. Our commitment to neuroscience is reinforced by the upcoming introduction of a long-acting injectable drug to treat schizophrenia, which requires only four injections a year. We recently received regulatory approval for a new combination of drugs to help patients with HIV.

Our corporate vision: “Caring for the world, one person at a time inspires and unites the people of Janssen Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson. We embrace research and science bringing innovative ideas, products and services to advance the health and well-being of people.”