Serving in the name of progress

Updated 2017-09-08 10:30:44 China Daily
Joaquin Duato, executive vice-president and worldwide chairman of pharmaceuticals at Johnson & Johnson. (Photo provided to China Daily)

Joaquin Duato, executive vice-president and worldwide chairman of pharmaceuticals at Johnson & Johnson. (Photo provided to China Daily)

A senior executive at Johnson & Johnson talks about the group's strategy in China and the rest of the world

Joaquin Duato had dreams of playing tennis for Spain as a child.

At 55, he is now the executive vice-president and worldwide chairman of pharmaceuticals at blue chip brand Johnson& Johnson.

"I'm an avid tennis player and as a child I used to dream of one day representing Spain," he said during a visit to Beijing.

Instead he has represented the global healthcare giant for the past 28 years and helped shape the multinational's strategy in China and across the world.

"The healthcare and pharmaceutical industries have developed notably in China during the past three decades," Duato said. "Pharmaceutical companies are getting medicines to patients faster than they were before."

Moves by the China Food and Drug Administration to streamline the approval of new medicines have opened up the industry along with updating the National Reimbursement Drug List.

Last month, the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, Xi'an Janssen Pharmaceutical Ltd, was granted approval from the CFDA for its Imbruvica capsules, which are used to treat adult patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and mantle cell lymphoma.

"These factors have improved the situation in China for innovation-based pharmaceutical companies," Duato added.

With more than 125,000 staff in nearly 60 countries and regions, Johnson & Johnson sells its products, such as consumer and healthcare, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, in about 200 nations and regions.

Naturally, China has become "vitally" important to the United States-based group.

In an interview with China Daily, Duato talked about the company's vision, its strategy in China, and his love of tennis and giant pandas.

What are Johnson & Johnson's plans in China during the next five years?

China is vitally important to us globally and we remain committed to investing in China, and making a significant contribution to the country's economic growth.

Since establishing operations here in 1985, we have expanded our presence significantly and today employ more than 2,500 people in our Beijing headquarters, our state-of-the-art manufacturing site in Xi'an, and our research and development operations. These include the groundbreaking R&D center in Shanghai and the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center.

Following an investment of 0 million, our new supply chain hub for innovation in Asia is scheduled to open in Xi'an (in Shaanxi province) in 2019. The objective is to serve the rapidly expanding needs of China and other markets in the region. The plant is expected to set a new standard in pharmaceutical manufacturing here.

At full capacity, the plant is expected to produce 400 million tablets, capsules, creams, suppositories and powders a year.

What are your priorities in the country?

Globally, and in China, our strategy is to focus on discovering and developing transformational medical innovations for patients in six high priority disease areas, which address major unmet (unfulfilled) treatment needs.

These include oncology, immunology, neuroscience, infectious diseases, cardiovascular and pulmonary hypertension.

We will (also) continue to support China's aspiration to become a leading global pharmaceutical innovator through forward-looking investments. This will enable the discovery of game-changing therapies which address unmet medical needs.

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