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2021: An incredible year that we can be proud of at Janssen

2021: An incredible year that we can be proud of at Janssen

Where we must go from here to revolutionise how we think of, and treat, nervous system disorders

It’s been another rollercoaster year, and one that makes me appreciate, more than ever, how important it is to be surrounded by a great team of supportive, motivational and inspiring people. I therefore want to say a big ‘thank you’ to my colleagues for being so welcoming as I’ve transitioned into this new role as Janssen’s Neuroscience Commercial Strategy Lead for EMEA and for your unwavering dedication over the past year.

We’ve achieved a great deal in 2021, despite the ongoing turbulence and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to your hard work. There’s a famous quote that springs to mind: ‘If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far go together’. As a team, we are certainly going far! I therefore wanted to take the time to acknowledge a few stand out highlights from this year…

First and foremost, you should be incredibly proud of how you have been working to ensure that more people living with neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders are able to access new treatment options and high quality care. Although there is much more to be done, we have taken great steps toward realising our Neuroscience vision of predicting and preventing nervous system conditions. It is an ambitious goal indeed, but this year we have continued to prevent worsening of symptoms and improve outcomes and quality of life for people living with multiple sclerosis (MS), major depressive disorder (MDD) and schizophrenia, with promising clinical study data and real-world evidence.

I know 2021 hasn’t been without its challenges. The unique nature of each country’s regulatory systems and healthcare structures mean it’s impossible to take a ‘one size fits all’ approach to our work. Even then, data and regulatory authorisations are only the beginning of the story. However, I’ve been inspired by your ongoing commitment to working with industry and patient experts, policy makers, regulatory bodies and payers, to ensure these medicines can be available to anyone who needs them.

I am sure you will agree that the impact these advances have for patients and their loved ones is what is most important. For me, a personal highlight was hearing from a gentleman who told me that he finally feels like he has his wife back, after 25 years of her living with depression, because of the work we’ve done. My vision when I came to this role was to ensure individuals have a choice in their treatment decisions, access to the latest medical innovations, and are ultimately able to restore their quality of life and achieve their individual goals. This year, we as a team made significant strides towards achieving this and I couldn’t be prouder.

What’s next for us: Continuing to drive change through collaboration

The journey most certainly does not stop here. We know that challenges associated with managing nervous system disorders remain. The ‘mental health paradox’ means there is lots of discussion about conditions like depression but limited understanding outside healthcare circles, and limited funding compared to physical health conditions, which restricts patient access to high quality care and limits patient outcomes.

Nevertheless, despite these challenges, we won’t stop pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. We intend to reconceptualise how we think of, diagnose and treat neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders and to do this we cannot look at neuroscience through the lens of science alone. Each person’s experience of a neurological condition is uniquely influenced by personal, medical, environmental and social factors. It is therefore essential that we continue to work in partnership with the community to understand the everyday realities and ensure that we make a real impact on individual lives.

A silver lining to the COVID-19 pandemic is seeing how vaccine development and deployment play out on a global stage has fuelled new awareness of how scientific innovations can make a real difference for people living with serious illness. We must now harness this turning tide within society and work harder to ensure new solutions and support are available to people with neurological conditions.

Thank you for making everything possible this year. I know next year we will achieve a whole lot more!

Here’s to 2022!