Johnson & Johnson children's drugs returning next week

By Parija Kavilanz, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- After an almost five-month absence from stores, Johnson & Johnson will start shipping some of its recalled over-the-counter children's drugs to retailers next week, CEO William Weldon said in prepared remarks submitted to lawmakers Wednesday.

Weldon said that there would only be a limited amount of the medicine available and Johnson & Johnson declined to specify exactly which of the recalled products would arrive in stores next week. The products will be produced by J&J's Canadian affiliate.

A total of 4 million bottles will eventually hit the market by year end.

On Thursday, lawmakers will grill Weldon about the circumstances that triggered more than half a dozen recalls of its popular pain and cold drugs over the past year.

Weldon did not appear at the fist Congressional hearing held in May.

Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ, Fortune 500) McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit, recalled more than 135 million units of children's Tylenol, Benadryl and Motrin medicines in April for possible bacterial contamination and the presence of small metal parts.

In May, McNeil shuttered the U.S. plant that manufactured children's drugs and said it did not expect products made at the Fort Washington, PA plant to be back in stores before the end of the year.

Lawmakers are expected to drill deeper into the company's actions surrounding the recall of the popular non-prescription pain and cold drugs and to question Weldon about what he knew about the secret recall of more than 80,000 Motrin tablets in June 2009 dubbed the "phantom" recall.

Regarding the April recall of McNeil's pediatric drugs, Weldon said:

"I accept full accountability for the problems at McNeil, and I will take full accountability for fixing them."

"We will do whatever is necessary to address the quality concerns at McNeil, bring our important pediatric products back to the market responsibly, and restore the public's confidence in our products," he said.

Weldon also addressed the the company handled the Motrin "phantom" recall in his remarks.

"McNeil informed FDA officials about McNeil's plans."

"I believe that McNeil acted with good intentions. But this episode was not a model for how I would like to see Johnson & Johnson companies approach problems with defective product when they arise."

J&J and the FDA are at odds about the manner in which the company reported its intention to remove defective Motrin products from stores last year. To top of page

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