Johnson & Johnson reported higher-than-expected quarterly results on sizzling sales of its new Olysio treatment for hepatitis C, but company officials cautioned the pill will lose steam later this year as newer rivals come to market.
Global company sales jumped 9.1 percent in the second quarter to $19.5 billion, beating Wall Street expectations of $18.99 billion.
But while overall pharmaceutical sales soared, helped also by treatments for blood clots and prostate cancer, the company's medical devices and consumer products posted weak sales gains.
Olysio, which U.S. regulators approved in November, chalked up sales of $831 million for the second quarter and $1.19 billion for the year to date.
Many doctors use the pill with Gilead Sciences Inc's Sovaldi, which was approved in December to treat the hepatitis C liver virus and has achieved even higher sales than Olysio.
But industry analysts believe Olysio's strong sales growth will level off later this year if Gilead wins approval for a pill that combines Sovaldi with another of the company's treatments.
Jefferies analyst Jeffrey Holford said Olysio drove J&J's profit beat, but cautioned, "(L)ittle credit will be awarded long term as new competing therapies enter the market" later this year and compete with the new J&J pill.
Joaquin Duato, head of J&J pharmaceuticals, in a conference call with analysts on Tuesday, said Olysio's "(sales) run rate is unlikely to continue in 2015."