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 NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., Dec. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Ralph S. Larsen,

chairman and chief executive officer of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ), told investment analysts at a meeting here today that the company was continuing to invest heavily in research and development and that spending on R&D will total nearly $1 billion this year. "This investment has resulted in a steady flow of new products," he said, "with 30 percent of annual revenues coming from products introduced in the past five years."
 He said that Johnson & Johnson is increasingly a global company with more than half its sales and earnings from 150 countries outside the United States.
 He said that key products are being marketed as global franchises for maximum efficiency. He cited the anti-anemia drug Eprex/Procrit now marketed in 48 countries, Hismanal, the antihistamine now sold in 115 countries, and the Acuvue Disposable Contact Lens sold in 36 countries. "It is my belief," he said, "that Johnson & Johnson is better equipped to move new products around the world faster than any other company I know of."
 More than 200 analysts and portfolio managers attended the meeting, which included remarks by Board Vice Chairmen Robert E. Campbell and Robert N. Wilson, and by key executives from the company's consumer, professional, pharmaceutical and diagnostic businesses.
 Sector Chairman Pierre Dupasquier said a major recent trend is the acceleration in growth of the over-the-counter (OTC) drug business: Last year for the first time OTC drugs such as Tylenol were well over half of U.S. consumer business, up from about a third just a few years ago. Another trend, he said, is the continuing good growth of business in Europe, as well as expansion in new markets in China and Eastern Europe.
 Recent developments in the consumer field cited at the meeting included:
 -- Launch in the United States of Stayfree Ultra Plus, a new line of sanitary protection pads whose special design and patented absorbent system incorporate the unique ultra-thin absorbent properties of sphagnum moss. Developed and first launched in Canada early this year, the product is now being sold in 11 other countries.
 -- Monistat 7's introduction as an OTC product has gone extremely well and it is now the leading OTC vaginal antifungal product.
 -- Introduction of a new line of Johnson's bathtime products featuring Walt Disney's Winnie the Pooh character.
 -- Launch of Band-Aid Brand Glow-In-The-Dark bandages and new Advanced Design Reach Toothbrush.
 Since 1986, the company's OTC analgesic business, headed by Tylenol, has steadily grown and the company has a market share larger than its next two largest competitors combined. This has been aided by new dosage forms, such as Tylenol Gelcaps, and line extensions in children's Tylenol products. There has been strong growth in the cold category with the launch of new brands such as Tylenol Cold and Flu last year. The expansion of the Tylenol Sinus Allergy business has made the company the leader in that category.
 Imodium A-D, launched as an OTC product in 1988, is a superior OTC antidiarrheal remedy and has risen to a dominant position in that category.
 The Mylanta antacid and Mylicon anti-flatulance product have enjoyed steady share gains since their acquisition by the Johnson & Johnson- Merck Consumer Pharmaceuticals Co. joint venture in 1989.
 Sucralose, the only low-calorie sweetener that is created from sugar, tastes like sugar and can be used virtually everywhere sugar can be used, such as cooking and baking, is awaiting approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Earlier this year, the company's partner in Canada received regulatory approval to market sucralose.
 Campbell, vice chairman of the board, said that the international portion of the professional segment has risen from 30 percent in 1985 to 46 percent last year. "We continue to be bullish on international growth, as the level of health care sophistication increases around the globe," he said.
 Campbell said a major effort has been to build on Ethicon's strength as the leader in surgical sutures to exploit the opportunity in products for endoscopic surgery.
 So far this year, Ethicon has introduced 45 new products for endoscopic procedures such as gall bladder and hernia, including multiple-fire hernia staplers and clip appliers.
 The company expects to introduce more than 60 new endoscopic products next year and will increase its U.S. sales force from 350 to 500 by the end of next year. It is creating new endoscopic product development centers in the United States, Germany and Japan, and is currently facilitating training of surgeons at the rate of more than 1,000 per month.
 One of the newer technologies that has enjoyed spectacular success is the Acuvue Disposable Contact Lens. Launched in the United States only in 1988, Acuvue is now the number one contact lens in total dollar sales worldwide, with leadership positions in the United States, Canada, the U.K., France, Denmark and Sweden, and was the first disposable lens introduced in Japan earlier this year -- and it also makes Johnson & Johnson the largest contact lens company in the Unites States. Contrasted to almost no growth in the overall U.S. contact lens market, Acuvue sales have grown about 50 percent a year in the past two years.
 Among other new technologies, he cited the Palmaz Stent, a new balloon-expandable technology that overcomes the limitations of balloon angioplasty, which earlier this year was approved by the FDA for use in iliac arteries and awaits approval for use in coronary arteries.
 He also cited the patented, light-activated photopheresis drug therapy that currently is available to treat a malignancy that is manifested in the skin and that is being studied for scleroderma.
 Wilson said that Johnson & Johnson is now the eighth largest pharmaceutical company in the world and the fifth largest in the United States. He said the company's principal worldwide franchises are in the allergy/asthma, antifungal, central nervous system, contraceptive, dermatology, gastrointestinal and immunobiology/biotech fields.
 "One unique and strong characteristic of our pharmaceutical business is a broad base of successful products," Wilson said. He said the company has 18 products with annual sales over $50 million, and 12 of them have sales over $100 million. The company launched its first antibiotic, Floxin, in the United States this year and its sales growth has exceeded forecasts. Another antibiotic, an injectable cephalosporin, was licensed from the Japanese firm Fujusawa in an agreement announced last month.
 Wilson said the company has 33 compounds in active clinical trials in the United States.
 There are seven new molecular entities now awaiting marketing approval at the Food and Drug Administration. Among them are Propulsid, a product to treat gastroesophageal reflux; Sporanox, which treats a broad spectrum of fungal diseases; and a new oral contraceptive for the U.S. market, desogestrel.
 There are also pending before the FDA 10 applications for approval to market already approved drugs for new medical indications. Among them are the anti-anemia drug, Procrit, which is awaiting approval for use with cancer patients. It is already approved for use in patients with chronic renal disease and for AIDS patients. Also awaiting approval is Renova, which would become the first product approved to treat damage to the skin caused by the sun.
 Among the 33 drugs that are in earlier stages of research and development are new drugs for allergy, asthma, cardiovascular disorders, central nervous system disorders and psychosis, cancer and skin diseases.
 It was pointed out that Johnson & Johnson is the third largest biotechnology company in the world, with the anti-anemia drug, Procrit; OKT 3, which is a monoclonal antibody product used in organ transplants; and Timunox, used in immunology. Awaiting FDA approval is Orthozyme CD5+, which will be used in graft-vs.-host disease, a life-threatening condition that occurs after bone marrow transplantation.
 Johnson & Johnson's diagnostic business places it fifth in the world. It is the leader in blood typing and screening and was the first company to market a test for hepatitis C. The company's new One Touch II product has done very well in the market for in-home monitoring of blood glucose levels for patients with diabetes.
 Larsen noted the company's continuing concern about doing its part to keep health care costs down. He said that for the 10-year period 1980-1990, the weighted average compound growth rate of Johnson & Johnson's price increases for health care products (prescription and OTC drugs, hospital and professional products) was slightly below the U.S. Consumer Price Index rate for the period. He said this year's price increases will also be below the projected CPI.
 "We are going to continue to do our best to keep price increases for our total health care product line within the rate of inflation in the United States," Larsen said. "Through our pricing and the cost effectiveness of our pharmaceuticals and such pioneering products as endoscopic surgical instruments, it is our intention to be part of the answer to spiraling health care costs, and not part of the problem."
 "Our goal and resolve," said Larsen in closing the meeting, "is to continue to build throughout the decade the world's best and most comprehensive health care products company. We believe we are uniquely well positioned globally to accomplish this."
 -0- 12/6/91
 /CONTACT: F. Robert Kniffin, 908-524-3535, or at home, 609-799-0369, or (investors) Clarence E. Lockett, 908-524-6491, or at home, 215-493-0757, both of Johnson & Johnson/
 (JNJ) CO: Johnson & Johnson ST: New Jersey IN: MTC SU: CK -- NY044 -- 0150 12/06/91 14:00 EST
COPYRIGHT 1991 PR Newswire Association LLC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Date:Dec 6, 1991

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