J&J shines light on key role in multiple myeloma care team, vowing to raise awareness and offer support

Johnson & Johnson’s multiple myeloma team wants to “Make It HAPPen.” Working with a professional society, the drugmaker is stepping up its support for advanced practice providers (APPs) in light of survey data showing the key role they play in the multiple myeloma care pathway.

The professional body, Advanced Practitioners Society for Hematology and Oncology (APSHO), represents APPs such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants who do some of the same tasks as physicians. J&J, which sells multiple myeloma drugs such as Darzalex and Carvykti, partnered with APSHO because it sees APPs as a key part of the multiple myeloma care team that would benefit from additional support.

“APPs are what I call the backbone to the entire care team. They really see and shepherd these patients along their entire patient journey,” June Lanoue, vice president of hematology marketing and sales at J&J, said.

J&J worked with APSHO to better understand the needs of APPs, surveying 200 APPs who see multiple myeloma patients and 100 multiple myeloma patients. The poll revealed the importance of APPs. Most, 93%, of patients said APPs are essential to their care, and 61% of patients said they feel they could ask an APP questions they couldn’t put to their doctor.  

The willingness to ask APPs questions reflects the fact that the healthcare professionals “spend a lot of time with patients ... and provide emotional support,” Lanoue said. Yet, while the survey showed the key role APPs play, it also revealed a need for additional support. Most, 94%, of APPs want more educational resources specific to multiple myeloma. 

“It's not that they're not knowledgeable. It's just, they're limited in time. They are so busy,” Lanoue said. “They want to be more involved. I thought they were very close to the patient, but they want to be more involved with patient care.” APPs want to be more involved at the start of the patient journey. 

The survey results are informing a multiyear push. J&J wants to provide resources to APPs working in multiple myeloma, raise awareness of their role and, in doing so, support patients and physicians. Specific activities include building a central website for APPs and providing educational resources, potentially via scientific forums and webinars.  

J&J is providing the support to healthcare professionals who work in a key therapeutic area for the firm. The anti-CD38 antibody Darzalex is a cornerstone of J&J’s business, generating $2.4 billion in the second quarter, and the BCMA CAR-T cell therapy Carvykti is an important emerging opportunity.