The political maneuvering around the J&J scandal is intensifying. The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wants Johnson & Johnson ceo Bill Weldon to testify at a May 27 hearing to explain the reasons for a slew of product recalls. So far, though, the health care giant has been coy about whether he will actually appear. For now, Weldon's public responses have been confined to a contrite blog post and a brief video interview (see here).
So Darrell Issa, the committee's ranking member and a California Republican, has asked committee chair Edolphus Towns to postpone the hearing for two reasons: Issa hears that Weldon may not be able to appear and the FDA, meanwhile, has not yet completed its inspections of McNeil Consumer Healthcare facilities. This is what Issa wrote in a letter today to Towns:
"It is my opinion that Mr. Weldon's presence at this hearing is of the utmost importance, if for no other purpose than to restore brand confidence. According to credible sources, the McNeil manufacturing facilties presently under investigation may be 'out of control' and not following internal standard operating procedures, mess less FDA regulations. The parent company must be held accountable for the actions of its subsidiary and the only way to achieve this is by Mr. Weldon's appearance before our committee," he writes.
When we receive a reply from J&J, we will update you. UPDATE: J&J writes back to say Weldon had back surgery today and so he may not be able to travel to DC next week. Instead, J&J is prepared to send Colleen Goggins, who heads the worldwide consumer group. Weldon would still be willing to "communicate" with the committee after he recovers.