Johnson & Johnson Profits Increase

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) yesterday reported a 12.5% growth in earnings for their first quarter, assisted by sales of new products, the most noticeable being the prostate cancer drug Zytiga.

The group’s net earnings came in at $3.91 billion, while turnover fell 0.2% to $16.14 billion.  Worldwide pharmaceutical sales were up 1.2% to $6.13 billion, but they dropped 10.8% in the USA to $3.03 billion, hurt by generic competition to key products.

As a result, the US sales of the antipsychotic Risperdal (risperidone) were wiped out, and no figures for elsewhere were given either, while the longer-acting form of the drug, Risperdal Consta, fell 10.6% to $361 million.

Sales of Doxil/Caelyx (doxorubicin), which was adjourned last year because of manufacturing problems by supplier Boehringer Ingelheim’s Ben Venue unit, decreased 82.7% to $24 million.

Johnson & Johnson’s anaemia therapy Procrit/Eprex (epoetin alfa) dropped 5.3% to $376 million, while the antibiotic Levaquin (levofloxacin) fell 93.3% to just $29 million, after the loss of marketing exclusivity in the USA.

On the positive side, J&J’s biggest seller was the Merck & Co-partnered anti-inflammatory Remicade (infliximab), sales of which were up 18.4% to $1.52 billion, while the latter’s follow-up Simponi (golimumab) brought in $116 million, up 22.1%.

Sales of Velcade (bortezomib), for the treatment of patients with multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma, increased 26.1% to $353 million, while the HIV therapy Prezista (darunavir) leapt 21.8% to $324 million.  Turnover from Stelara (ustekinumab) for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis climbed 33.1% to $221 million while Zytiga (abiraterone) contributed $200 million to Johnson & Johnson’s coffers.

The healthcare giant noted that sales at its medical devices and diagnostics unit reached $6.41 billion, a 0.3% decrease, while turnover from its troubled consumer division fell 2.4% to $3.60 billion.


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