Johnson & Johnson Profit Rises on Higher Drug Sales

Johnson & Johnson said its quarterly profit rose, helped by growing sales of its drugs and consumer products, although stent sales fell sharply.

The diversified health-care company earned $2.17 billion, or 74 cents a share in the fourth quarter, compared with $2.1 billion, or 70 cents, a year earlier.

Excluding items, J&J earned 81 cents a share. Analysts on average expected a profit of 79 cents per share, according to Thomson Financial.

The results included $217 million in charges related to the company's $16.6 billion acquisition in December of Pfizer's consumer health products, including such brands as Listerine mouthwash and the Sudafed allergy drug. Sales of the former Pfizer products were not included in J&J's fourth-quarter results.

Sales rose 8.5 percent to $13.7 billion.

Consumer product revenues -- including the New Brunswick, N.J.-based company's Aveeno skin products and sun care products acquired from another acquisition, jumped 11.2% in the quarter to $2.57 billion.

Global pharmaceutical sales rose 8.5% to $5.95 billion, helped by strong demand for schizophrenia drug Risperdal and epilepsy treatment Topamax.

Global Risperdal sales rose 18% to $1.06 billion, despite strong competition with Bristol-Myers Squibb's newer Abilify. Sales of Topamax jumped 28% to $529 million.

Sales of arthritis drug Remicade grew 13% to $780 million, while those of attention deficit disorder treatment Concerta rose 24% to $257 million.

But combined sales of anemia drugs Procrit and Eprex slipped 1% to $788 million, hurt by longer-acting rival Aranesp sold by Amgen.

Sales of medical devices and diagnostics rose 7.2% to $5.17 billion, although global sales of the company's drug-coated Cypher stent fell 15% to $580 million.

U.S. sales of Cypher, used to prop open cornary arteries that have been cleared of plaque, fell 18% to $280 million, with sales hurt by overall softness in demand for the devices.

Sales of drug-coated stents have been hurt by reports showing they can cause blood clots.



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