April 28th, 2011

Some Highlights from Today’s Annual Shareholders Meeting

Earlier today, Johnson & Johnson held its annual shareholders meeting in New Brunswick, directly across the street from the company’s headquarters in New Brunswick, New Jersey. A replay webcast of the proceedings can be found on the Johnson & Johnson website, and Doug just posted some information about the shareholder votes that took place, but I thought I’d share some of the things that I took away from the meeting.

Addressing the shareholders, Chairman and CEO Bill Weldon discussed some of the issues the company has faced over the past year, including the recall of many well-known over-the-counter products. As Bill explained, “over the course of 2010, we have taken a series of actions to remedy these problems, to understand how they were caused and to implement changes to ensure they do not happen again.” Bill went on to highlight the actions Johnson & Johnson has taken, including how the company “gutted”
its manufacturing plant in Fort Washington, PA, and is now investing over $100 million to build a “world-class, state-of-the-art facility.” Among other things, he also explained how the company has conducted internal quality training for 3,000 employees supporting the US over-the-counter business.

Yet the meeting was more than just a review of the challenges the company has faced. Bill and his fellow presenters, Vice Chairman Sheri McCoy and Vice Chairman Alex Gorsky, looked to both the successes of the past year and to the future, discussing the many opportunities facing the diverse businesses of Johnson & Johnson. From a robust pipeline of prescription pharmaceutical products (including one that was approved today) to innovative consumer products to medical devices that help improve patient outcomes, Bill, Alex and Sheri provided a sense of the breadth and strength of Johnson & Johnson’s businesses. Bill’s remarks, though, summed this up best. As he was closing his remarks, he explained that despite some of the macroeconomic and industry-wide pressures:

“…the world’s need for affordable, quality care is essential to citizens and governments around the world.
It’s a fundamental driver of the global economy and forms the basis for a compelling and growing market, most notably in emerging markets where healthcare spending and access are increasing.

The world’s aging population and demographics will make certain medical treatments, medicines and consumer products more in demand.

Critical unmet medical needs like cancer, HIV, diabetes and cardiovascular disease threaten large populations.
Advancing science and technology will offer the opportunity for more convergent platforms that can be used earlier in a disease state or to address new areas of unmet need.

From personalized medicine and comparative effectiveness to the increased use of companion diagnostics and biomarkers, these types of developments will help shape a more effective approach to health care.

We continue investing in growth opportunities to expand our market leadership positions, and to pursue new opportunities in some of the fastest growing segments in health care.”

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