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J&J CEO: Will Make Any Changes Needed After Recall

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) chief executive vowed to make whatever changes are needed for its manufacturing processes to meet consumers' expectations and the company's own standards, saying it has hired independent quality experts to help. The company recalled about 1,500 lots of bottled products last week, including pediatric versions of Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl. Its McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit said it was withdrawing the over-the-counter products, starting late last Friday, because of manufacturing problems at its Fort Washington, Pa., plant In an open letter Friday to all those who use J&J products on the firm's corporate blog, Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Weldon called the recalls a disappointment to him and the rest of the company and its workers. "I have been assured that the chance of a serious medical event from the recalled products is remote," he said. "Even so, this does not give us comfort; one of our companies has let you down." He reiterated that McNeil suspended manufacturing at the Pennsylvania plant and has hired independent quality experts to help the facility return to the proper standards and also reevaluate the systems and manufacturing processes across the organization. He ended the note by saying the company "will work hard to earn back your confidence." A House committee said earlier this week it is opening an investigation into conflicting accounts of what had prompted the recall, as well as how the company handled consumer complaints about foreign matter in the bottles. Johnson & Johnson shares were up 0.2% at $63.42 in after-hours trading. The stock is down modestly so far this year. Johnson & Johnson blog: http://jnjbtw.com/ -By Joan E. Solsman, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2291; joan.solsman@dowjones.com

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