Back in May, Congress had to content itself with a substitute for Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) CEO Bill Weldon (photo) at a hearing about the company's recent drug recalls. But now, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wants the real thing--Chairman Edolphus Towns has once again asked Weldon to testify.
The committee is probing a series of recalls of McNeil Consumer Healthcare products. And what started out as an investigation of the enormous recall of children's medicines prompted by a scathing FDA inspection of a plant in Fort Washington, Pa., has broadened. The committee has accused J&J of stonewalling; however, the company said it has responded to all the committee's requests. Various newspapers and blogs got a hold of documents J&J submitted to investigators, including emails suggesting that top McNeil executives were involved in what Towns dubbed a "phantom recall" of faulty Motrin tablets. J&J continues to maintain that its Motrin-buying efforts were just a "retrieval" of the product for testing.
So, Weldon would face plenty of questions from the committee. But the big question is whether he'll show up. Last time, he had back surgery. Will he send another substitute this second time around? Or will he face the committee himself?