“My ambition is figuring out how we are serving that lifetime of needs”

OT  spoke with Johnson & Johnson Vision’s Jacqueline Henderson about changing patient needs, the opportunity of contact lenses, and takeaways from her experiences so far

Jacqueline Henderson, is sitting down and looks directly into the camera. She wears a floral blouse and white blazer

When did you take on the role as President, Johnson & Johnson Vision EMEA? What does this role look like?

I’m super lucky because I’ve been working for Johnson & Johnson as a corporation for about 27 years. One of the great things about Johnson & Johnson is we cover a lot of need states and I’ve had an opportunity to have diverse roles across different businesses, as well as in different functions.

Many of the roles that I’ve had were helpful coming into Johnson & Johnson Vision, which I did about eight years ago in Canada, to be able to take some of those learnings I had from sales, operations and marketing, and bring them into the vision space. I have worked all over the world.

I’ve worked in Canada and the US, in global roles, and over a year ago I moved to Ireland to manage the whole Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) business for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care. Earlier this year I also took on responsibility for our surgical business as well to serve our customers and patients for all their vision needs from end to end.

How would you say you have seen the industry change in the time you have been with Johnson & Johnson Vision?

I’ve seen a lot of changes. Most recent in my mind, which I think is the same for a lot of people, are the changes that were brought about by the pandemic. I think about the digital environment, first in terms of how people are obtaining their healthcare, and how people are interacting with one another. Digital has become so ubiquitous to what everybody is doing. For a certain generation it was always ubiquitous, but in this case, I think COVID-19 pushed us into a digital era.

From a patient point of view, what has changed is how much time they spend on digital devices, and that really calls for us having better products to serve that unmet patient need. That is where the Oasys Max 1-Day comes in. This has been a fantastic innovation for us and the feedback we get is that it is helping to deliver on that patient need around digital device use and the dryness that can result.

What were your goals for your first year leading vision care in EMEA? What achievements are you proudest of?

I’ll give you a personal one first, which is that I’m really proud that I’ve learned how to drive on the other side of the road.

Innovation is the heart of what we do. Launching Oasys Max 1-Day was a pivotal moment for us in meeting an evolving and an increased patient need and in bringing innovation to the marketplace. Innovation is exciting. It brings news but it also meets needs, which is what we’re here for at the end of the day.

Now I have responsibility across both Vision Care and Surgical Vision, and the business lines within that, I’m still figuring some of it out, but what I am starting to see early on in the journey is that there’s a real opportunity to make sure that we are serving a patient’s needs all the way through their lifetime.

My ambition is figuring out how we are serving that lifetime of needs, and how we continue to build on our legacy of firsts – that can be through a product innovation, but also potentially digital innovation as well.

How do you see the vision care market in the UK currently? Any trends or patterns?

One of the things I am learning is that while the surgical market is very different from the vision care market, the fundamental need with patients is the same – having healthy sight and healthy eyes.

One of the things I want to call out is that our collective industry teams do a great job. We’re all part of a giant community that is about trying to make sure that people have access to a lifetime of eye health. From inside Johnson & Johnson Vision, this is our manufacturing, research and development and scientists. I think paying attention to the impact that our collective community is having on patients in the UK is something we should all be proud of and keep doing.

With that, I think that we have more work to do. When I think about the UK market, we’re at about 18% penetration in contact lenses. That’s higher than the rest of Europe but it’s still only 18%. There are a lot more people who are open and interested in contact lenses but aren’t currently in them. I think it’s our job to figure out how we continue to grow the category through innovations like our Acuvue Max platform, and through growing awareness of things like presbyopia – because in some cases people don’t even know that there was a contact lens solution for them. In the UK, we’re all doing a great job of serving those patients but there is more opportunity to serve them.

Is there an ambition to continue supporting practices to engage with patients, such as those with presbyopia, around contact lenses?

We’re always trying to find new ways to make sure that we’re connecting patients in practice so that they can get the care that they need. For us, it means having that joint partnership with our doctors and customers to figure out how we can get those who are open and interested in contact lenses in practice.

The one statistic I would share with you is that while in the UK we’re at about 18% penetration, markets like Japan are at 27%. They’re quite a bit higher, and so what is it that we can learn from other markets? What is it that we can do within the UK to bridge that gap?

Presbyopia is one of those biggest opportunities. As the category leader, one of the things we do view as our responsibility is to make sure that we’re driving awareness of those solutions that are out there for the patients.

However, sometimes there is a conversation about it being spectacles versus contact lenses, but it is worth remembering that it is not one or the other, particularly in presbyopic patients. The reality is they work very well together.

Presbyopia, to me, is such an interesting category. The marketplace, profession, and the patient have been looking for innovation there, particularly in the silicone hydrogel space. Our launch of Acuvue Oasys Max 1-Day is delivering a solution that both patients and optometrists are looking for. It’s another exciting way to start driving awareness and more people into the category., as well as delivering on benefits that support the growing use of digital devices with the blue light filter in our Acuvue Oasys Max lenses, plus the class 1 UV protection built into all our Acuvue contact lenses.

Do you see the cost of living concerns having an effect on practices?

I think everybody, personally and professionally, is feeling the impact of the climate right now whether it’s gas prices, food or energy. We certainly can’t ignore what’s going on. With that, we’re quite encouraged by what we see in the health of the eye care category. We continue to see people leaning into contact lenses, leaning into daily disposable contact lenses, and even Max, which is a premium product. For me, what it is coming down to is that people have a choice in terms of how to spend their money. I think they choose depending on if it’s making a meaningful difference in their life, which in many cases contact lenses do.

Are there areas for development that Johnson & Johnson Vision are particularly focused on?

Our Credo is always about serving our patients. No matter what we do, it’s always going to be about trying to figure out how we innovate against those unmet eye health needs. That can be products or services, communication, education, or a lot of different things. We want to make sure that we’re balancing the need to innovate on what I would call our core business, as well as trying to deliver transformational innovation.

I think in the cataract space, there’s a new intraocular lens technology coming to market this year in the Tecnis platform. Sustainability is always going to continue to be a focus for us. We are a company that is grounded in science, and we want to make sure that we have a science-based, fact-based approach.

We also need to look at what is coming next and continuing to focus on specialty areas like astigmatism and torics – which is underpenetrated – and presbyopia. Presbyopia is only 8% category penetration versus the 18% overall.

Myopia is a hot conversation. It represents a big opportunity to meet unmet needs and help our population. While in some ways it’s still a very small segment, it is exploding. We’re expecting half the world’s population to have myopia by 2050. I think one of our responsibilities is to make sure that we’re meeting that growing need and hopefully, it won’t be half the population by 2050 if we do our jobs right.

What are your key reflections or learnings from your past year in this role?

Many moments stand out for me. One is the teams and the people who I’ve interacted with. Partnerships with our customers and the community is a part of how we’re both successful and how we serve patients.

I’ve had the opportunity to see our Limerick manufacturing plant, one of two locations where we make our Acuvue contact lenses globally, as well as one of our research and development, and manufacturing centres in Groningen in the Netherlands, where we make our intraocular lenses. It is incredible to see the science and ingenuity that goes into making every single intraocular lens or contact lens. I’m utterly wowed by how much science and technology is built into every single lens that we make, and moreover, the passion.

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say the launch of the Acuvue Oasys Max 1-Day platform. Then, I think we’re doing a lot of other things in the marketplace. All in all, I think it’s been a fantastic year, and I’m really looking forward to the next one.