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Johnson & Johnson posts higher sales, big 4Q profit jump

Higher prescription drug sales helped push Johnson & Johnson’s fourth-quarter profit up by 32 percent.

The world’s biggest maker of health care products reported net income of $4.01 billion, or $1.50 per share. That’s up from $3.04 billion, or $1.12, a year earlier.

Adjusted earnings came to $1.88 per share, matching the expectations of industry analysts, according to a survey by FactSet.

Total revenue edged up 1.7 percent to $20.75 billion.

The New Brunswick, New Jersey, based maker of baby shampoo and biologic drugs forecast 2020 revenue of $85.4 billion to $86.2 billion, and adjusted earnings per share of $8.95 to $9.10.

In premarket trading, J&J stock dropped $2.27, or 1.5 percent, to $147 per share.

Sales at J&J’s prescription drug division jumped 3.5 percent to $10.55 billion, driving the strong results for the company as it has in recent years. Sales were led by immune disorder drug Stelara and several cancer drugs.

At J&J’s medical devices and diagnostics business, which the company has been restructuring, sales declined 0.5 percent to $6.63 billion. Sales at its consumer health division, which sells baby products and over-the-counter medicines, rose 0.9 percent to $3.57 billion.

During the fourth quarter, the European Commission approved Spravato, a nasal spray for treating depression, and cancer blockbuster Darzalex, for treating the bone cancer multiple myeloma in combination with other medicines.

J&J acquired rights to bermekimab during the quarter, an experimental drug for treating eczema and other skin disorders, and completed its acquisition of Taris Biomedical, which is developing treatments for bladder disorders, including cancer. J&J also agreed to buy the remaining stake in Verb Surgical, a move to boost its strength in robotics and data science.

For all of 2019, J&J reported sales of$82.06 billion and net income of $15.12 billion, or $5.63 per share.

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