J&J posts third-quarter progress

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J&J CEO Alex Gorsky
J&J CEO Alex Gorsky

Johnson & Johnson beat consensus estimates for the third quarter, racking up $17.6 billion in sales for the three-month frame, a 3% bump when compared to the same period last year.

Key performers included the OTC consumer segment, in which sales rose almost 18% for the quarter compared to the same period last year, and pharmaceuticals, where $7 billion in sales represented an almost 10% increase compared to the same period last year.

New treatments, including cancer medication Zytiga, blood thinner Xarelto and diabetes treatment Invokana, contributed to the lift in the pharmaceuticals unit's financial profile as did legacy products Invega, Stelara, Velcade and Prezista, among others.

Medical devices and diagnostics missed consensus estimates, with worldwide sales falling 2% compared to the same period last year.

The lift may be considered a limited one. The healthcare products company continues to navigate product recalls, which included the September recalls of Motrin Infants' Drops and antipsychotic Risperdal Consta. The company's consumer sales started to show growth during the second quarter as products started resurfacing at stores after recalls prompted the drug maker to remove them from shelves.

J&J's earnings release is an opener for the rest of the industry, with peers including Merck, Pfizer and Eli Lilly scheduled to post quarterly results later this month. Goldman Sachs analyst Jami Rubin wrote in her October 11 run-up to the earnings season that the worst is over for J&J  in terms of the patent cliff, but that she expects “earnings will be at trough levels until new product launches occur.” Rubin wrote that she expects launches for pipeline cancer drug ibrutinib and the experimental hepatitis C treatment simeprevir will enhance momentum in the company's pharmaceutical division.
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