J&J Focusing On US, Emerging Market Sales: CEO

William C. Weldon, CEO of Johnson & Johnson
Source: jnj.com
William C. Weldon, CEO of Johnson & Johnson

Emerging-market sales are helping to drive Johnson & Johnson's growth, but the company is not forgetting the developed world, Chairman William Weldon told CNBC Tuesday.

"You can't lose sight of the developed world because it’s so big, and such an extraordinary market," the J&J CEO said, noting the U.S. pharmaceuticals market is bigger than the next 10 markets combined.

However, emerging markets are also important. To that end, J&J said Monday its Cilag unit will expand its business in Russia by buying the over-the-counter brands of J B Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals for $260 million in cash.

"That allows us to really have distribution, to be able to expand our base and get new products in that area," Weldon said. J&J is also heavily invested in China, Brazil and India.

The company's top pipeline drugs are Zytiga for treatment of prostate cancer, Rivaroxaban for cardiovascular disorders, Telaprevir for Hepatitis C and TMC 278 for HIV.

In the US, sales have been hit by the recession, and by the recall a number of its products, including certain Tylenol brand products.

"As everyone knows, this was a challenging year for us," Weldon said, adding he expects the recalled products will be back in the market in the second half of this year.

"Consumers are still a little apprehensive," he said. "What we see are the more affluent are spending, the less affluent are probably trading down or being cautious in what they’re going to spend."

Also, there has been no rebound in the company's medical device business because patients are putting off some medical procedures. Weldon expects that to change.

"Elective surgery you can put off, but you can’t put it off forever," he said.