Roger Brownrigg
General Manager
Johnson & Johnson
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View from the Top

State-of-the-Art Technology Can Be Accessible

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 16:51

Q: One of Johnson & Johnson’s objectives is to offer competitive prices. How do you adapt to Mexico’s unequal economy?

A: For Johnson & Johnson, improving access to care is of the utmost importance, especially considering that as products become more technologically advanced they also become more expensive to produce. Our goal is for all Mexicans to have access to our products, no matter their socioeconomic class. Although the country says that 95 percent of Mexicans have access to healthcare, this is not the case for all conditions and medicines. Furthermore, most medical services are concentrated in Mexico City, Jalisco and Monterrey. Many other regions throughout the country do not have ready access to care.

Q: Considering the budget cuts in the public sector, how do you divide your sales between the public and private spheres?

A: We divide our sales 50-50. We have not been directly impacted by the cuts to the public sector since our services are aimed at surgery and the cuts were mainly allocated to pharmaceutical products. Mexico is an extremely large market for pharmaceuticals since doctors are much more used to treating health problems with medications instead of surgeries. This is due in part to the education that doctors receive in schools and to the fact that the country’s penetration of advanced surgical techniques has been slower than others such as Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Argentina.

Q: Considering what Johnson & Johnson invests in innovation, how does the company educate all players in the health sector on the advantages of your products?

A: A significant part of our investment both in Mexico and the world is directed toward surgeon training. Training a doctor takes decades and sometimes the technology for which they were trained is obsolete when they finish their education. For this reason, we invest a lot in professional training to ensure that doctors are up to date with technology. Considering the strict regulation for medical devices in Mexico, we have little input on the doctor’s final decision on which device to acquire. For that reason, we must ensure that we work alongside doctors to help them acquire the desired clinical results in terms of patient`s quality of life improvement and satisfaction.

Q: How does Johnson & Johnson adapt its technology to emerging economies such as Mexico?

A: We do not have products designed exclusively for developing economies. Even considering the wide differences that can be seen across continents or within the same country, it is necessary to prioritize the patient’s safety. We do not sell old equipment but offer different solutions. For instance, an appendectomy can be done through laparoscopic surgery or through open surgery. In this case the result is the same, although recovery takes three days in the case of a laparoscopy and 30 days after open surgery. Every health system must make a decision whether to spend on a more expensive treatment or on the cost effectiveness in regards to a patient’s recovery.

Q: What are your strategies to improve access to care?

A: We work with the Ministry of Health and the General Health Council to address the challenges Mexico faces to increase access to care. We are fully aware that no public system has the capabilities to address every single disease that its citizens face, so it is necessary to develop innovative solutions to provide care to a larger number of patients. We act as strategic partners for the public sector.

Q: Which of Johnson & Johnson’s products are in highest demand?

A: Our Energy division is revolutionizing surgeries and improving safety during the cut and coagulation process for different tissues. One of my favorite products is a knee replacement that has had a great reception from patients. We have another product for the management of arrythmias that performs a 3D mapping of the heart with minimal invasion. We are also launching several orthopedics products.