OUR STORY

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Chapters
  • Currently Viewing

    1850-1890

    A Company Is Born

  • Currently Viewing

    1891-1901

    Educating the Public

  • Currently Viewing

    1914-1950

    An Arsenal of New Tools

  • Currently Viewing

    1959-1971

    Expanding the Fight Against Disease

  • Currently Viewing

    1990-Today

    Fighting for Healthier Futures

Fighting Infectious Disease

Discover how Johnson & Johnson has led the field of public health for over 130 years.

Chapter 1A Company Is Born

Johnson & Johnson has always been inspired and guided by cutting-edge research.

In the century before the company was founded, infectious diseases like cholera and smallpox were the leading cause of death worldwide. Before germ theory was developed, scientists proposed competing theories about the causes of disease.

1886

Johnson & Johnson recognized the power of advanced research in germ theory and antiseptic surgery. The company launched just as these critical concepts were beginning to take hold and strived to forward them through educational initiatives and products.

Developing
Germ Theory

1889

The company hired local pharmacist Fred Kilmer as its first scientific director. Over his 45-year career at Johnson & Johnson, he would lead its scientific research and write educational manuals to help advance human health.

1890

Among Kilmer's first and greatest achievements at Johnson & Johnson was pioneering the industrial sterilization process. Originally, factory workers sterilized products by hand. The switch to machine sped up the production of critical medical supplies.

Chapter 2Educating the Public

Johnson & Johnson realized early that public education was as essential as well-designed products in the fight against disease.

1891

To keep people and their homes clean, Johnson & Johnson soon expanded its production beyond surgical supplies to consumer health products. One of its early disinfectants, Johnson's Sulphur Fumigator, used smoke to kill disease-carrying pests in the home.

Fighting Germs at Home

1901

Johnson & Johnson recognized that these new products also required creative marketing. Scientific Director Kilmer oversaw advertising, consumer outreach, and launched public health campaigns—all to teach families how to say healthy and fight disease.

1901

Back at its factories, Johnson & Johnson educated workers and protected them against disease. The company was among the earliest to offer vaccinations to its employees. In 1901, more than 500 company workers were vaccinated against smallpox each day.

Chapter 3 An Arsenal of New Tools

In response to global wars and a pandemic, Johnson & Johnson advanced and supplied critical tools to prevent disease.

1914

During World War I, the U.S. Military relied on Johnson & Johnson's line of sterile products. These were used to treat wounded soldiers and prevent infection from muddy trench warfare, keeping soldiers healthy enough to help fight off infectious diseases.

1918

When the Global Flu Pandemic broke out at the tail end of the war, the company invented a new product to fight it: the epidemic mask. All Americans were encouraged to wear the lifesaving masks, which helped prevent the spread of disease.

1918

The flu was the worst pandemic in recorded human history, claiming upwards of 50 million lives worldwide, including 675,000 Americans. At a time before the flu vaccine was developed, the simple and inexpensive mask was a vital tool in fighting the disease.

1941

When the U.S. entered World War II, its military once again turned to Johnson & Johnson for supplies. To protect soldiers in the South Pacific from insect-borne diseases, the company developed LUMITE Plastic Screen Cloth, a mesh used in tents and huts to keep bugs out.

1950

After the war, many public health innovations first developed by the military were adapted to help civilians. In the next decades, when vaccines and antibiotics became critical tools, Johnson & Johnson would expand into the field of pharmaceutical medicines.

Chapter 4 Expanding the Fight Against Disease

Johnson & Johnson increased its capabilities to fight disease by growing its family of companies and its portfolio of products.

1959

By the mid-20th century, to keep pace with the advancing healthcare field, Johnson & Johnson expanded its business into pharmaceutical medicines. In 1959, the company acquired Cilag Chemie in Switzerland and McNeil Laboratories in the United States.

1961

Johnson & Johnson continued its expansion by acquiring Janssen Pharmaceutica in Belgium. Founded by Dr. Paul Janssen, the research lab's innovative methods transformed the pharmaceutical industry and led to the discovery of many new medicines.

1971

During the late 20th century, Johnson & Johnson further broadened its impact by developing cutting-edge diagnostic test systems to screen for infectious diseases, including HIV and hepatitis A, B, and C, which were just being discovered by scientists.

Chapter 5 Fighting for Healthier Futures

Today, Johnson & Johnson is committed to achieving healthier futures for the world's most vulnerable people.

Infectious diseases remain a deadly force in regions across the world. Johnson & Johnson works to expand global access to its medicines, partners with international organizations to train healthcare workers, and helps educate communities to improve human health.

Johnson & Johnson is also advancing medical research. Through its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, it's developing lifesaving medicines to fight diseases like tuberculosis (TB), HIV, Ebola, and Zika.

One of the most dangerous diseases in the world today is multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB). To combat it, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies developed bedaquiline, which is now featured on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines.

While significant progress has been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS, it remains one of the greatest threats to human health. For over 25 years, Johnson & Johnson has been on the forefront of this fight, researching prevention and treatments, and improving access to medication.

When Ebola struck the West African Ivory Coast in 2014, Johnson & Johnson acted fast. It partnered with global research institutions to accelerate clinical testing of a breakthrough vaccine.

For over 130 years, Johnson & Johnson has been dedicated to developing solutions to improve public health. Through its innovative products, educational campaigns, cutting-edge research, and lifesaving medicines, the company is striving to fulfill its mission to fight infectious disease and advance human health.

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