House committee sets J&J recall hearing

Despite Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) CEO Bill Weldon's (photo) inability to testify this week, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is going ahead with its plans to conduct hearings into the company's recent recalls. Colleen Goggins, who heads up J&J's worldwide consumer healthcare business, will testify on the company's behalf instead, Pharmalot reports.

As for the FDA, Deputy Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein is on tap for the hearings; the committee had invited Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, but apparently she wasn't available either.

Congress has been investigating a big recall at J&J's McNeil Consumer Healthcare. Inspired by a report from FDA inspectors that experts called "shocking", the recall involved more than 40 drugs for children and infants. And as the latest in a series of McNeil recalls, it has touched off an outcry--and probes not only from Congress, but at the FDA and within J&J as well.

This week's hearing may not offer any huge surprises, but it will give a pulpit to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the committee's ranking member. Issa petitioned for a postponement last week, citing allegations that McNeil's idled plant may not be following internal procedures or FDA rules. Presumably we'll hear more from Issa on this score on Thursday.

- read the Pharmalot post
- see the announcement of the hearing