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JOHNSON & JOHNSON EXPLAINS VIEWS ON HEALTH CARE REFORM

 NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Johnson & Johnson's (NYSE: JNJ) stockholders were told today that the United States' health care system needs reform that improves access, slows cost increases, maintains quality and preserves innovation. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ralph S. Larsen told the annual stockholder meeting that the company favors a form of "managed competition" rather than any system that attempts to cap costs or mandate prices.
 "We believe that all Americans, regardless of income, should have access to a core of health care services at an affordable cost," Mr. Larsen said. "In a nation as prosperous and advanced as ours, it simply isn't right for 37 million men, women and children not to have health insurance," Mr. Larsen told the stockholders.
 Mr. Larsen said that to achieve the four goals -- improved access, slowing cost increases, maintaining quality and preserving innovation -- the company favors a system of combined government and private sector efforts that has come to be known as "managed competition," which would give people a reasonable choice of providers and encourage competition between providers based on the quality and cost of care.
 "Within the context of managed competition, Johnson & Johnson supports the development of a core benefit plan, including pharmaceuticals, that would be established by an independent body of experts," he said.
 Mr. Larsen said that price controls mandated by government would seriously distort managed competition at its most fragile stage of development, and the Company has communicated that point of view to the Administration and the Congress at every opportunity.
 "We do not support the imposition of "global budgets, expenditure targets or other forms of price and wage controls," he stated.
 He said the company supports a variety of efforts to restrain the rate of growth in health care costs:
 -- Reforms in the tax benefits currently afforded both employers and employees
 -- Malpractice reform, and elimination of much of the costly medical product liability litigation and defensive medicine that surrounds our health system
 -- Administrative and insurance reforms
 -- Programs to better inform consumers so they can make meaningful choices in health care
 -- Increased emphasis on the prevention of disease and on primary care, with priority given to children and pregnant women
 He noted that the central issue in health care reform is cost containment. Besides administrative expense, malpractice costs and inefficiency, he said, there are other factors, including the aging of the population.
 Mr. Larsen said the company will look forward with keen interest to the recommendations for health care reform that will be forthcoming from the Clinton health care task force. "It's clear," he said, "that government alone cannot solve the nation's health care problems. It's going to require a partnership between the public and private sectors, working together."
 He said that Johnson & Johnson's responsibility includes ensuring that its products represent good value for the prices it charges, and that the company is committed to continuing a responsible pricing policy. He said that for the period 1980 through 1990 the weighted average compound growth rate of Johnson & Johnson's price increases for health care products was below the U.S. consumer price index for the period. "This covers the range of our health care products from prescription and over-the-counter drugs to hospital and professional products," he said. This was true in 1991 and again in 1992, he said, and the company intends to continue this practice.
 Although the health care system may be flawed, he said, the quality of care available in this country is unequaled and must be preserved. America's worldwide leadership is directly linked to medical research and innovation, Mr. Larsen said, "and we support a health care system that is committed to a sustained level of governmental and private support for innovation and research in biomedical and health services."
 "As the world's largest and most diversified health care company, Mr. Larsen said, "We believe we have a responsibility to play a positive and constructive role in the shaping of good public policy on health care in this nation. And we are confident that if we can get good public policy -- policy that serves the people well -- then Johnson & Johnson will continue to grow and prosper in the years ahead."
 Johnson & Johnson, with over 84,000 employees, is the world's largest and most comprehensive manufacturer of health care products serving the consumer, pharmaceutical, and professional markets. Johnson & Johnson has 168 operating companies in 53 countries around the world, selling products in more than 150 countries. 1992 sales were $13.8 billion; net income and the average return on stockholder's equity were $1.6 billion and 28.5 percent, respectively, before the cumulative effect of accounting changes.
 -0- 4/29/93
 /CONTACT: F. Robert Kniffin of Johnson & Johnson, 908-524-3535, or home, 609-799-0369/
 (JNJ)


CO: Johnson & Johnson ST: New Jersey IN: MTC SU: HEA

KD -- NY092 -- 2745 04/29/93 14:27 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 29, 1993
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