A turnaround in Johnson & Johnson's prescription medicine business fueled by new drugs, combined with reduced production and administration expenses, lifted first-quarter profit by 8 percent.
The world's biggest maker of health care products beat Wall Street expectations and raised its earnings outlook Tuesday. The maker of Band-Aids and biologic drugs said net income was $4.73 billion, or $1.64 per share, up from $3.5 billion, or $1.22 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, income was $4.43 billion, or $1.54 per share. Analysts expected $1.48.
The New Brunswick, N.J., company said revenue totaled $18.12 billion, up 3.5 percent. Analysts expected $18.04 billion.
The prescription drug business, which has wrested the lead in sales back from the medical device business, saw revenue jump 11 percent to $7.5 billion.
J&J credited strong sales of new drugs: prostate cancer pill Zytiga ($512 million), hepatitis C medicine Olysio ($354 million) and Xarelto for preventing strokes ($319 million). Each is on pace to become blockbusters exceeding $1 billion in annual sales.
The company didn't disclose sales for type 2 diabetes drug Invokana, approved in March 2013, or Imbruvica, approved in February for a rare type of leukemia. Several other key drugs sold well, but top seller Remicade for immune disorders had flat sales at $1.61 billion.
J&J reported lower-than-expected sales for the medical devices and diagnostics segment, flat at $7.06 billion, and consumer health products, down 3.2 percent to $3.56 billion.