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J&J beats third-quarter earnings expectations on higher prescription drug sales, shares rise

Johnson & Johnson reported third-quarter earnings and revenue Tuesday that beat Wall Street’s expectations, boosted by higher sales of cancer and other prescription drugs.

Here’s what the company reported compared with Wall Street estimates, based on a survey of analysts by Refinitiv:

  • Adjusted earnings per share: $2.12 versus $2.01 expected
  • Revenue: $20.73 versus $20.07 billion expected

J&J also raised its full-year guidance and now sees earnings between $8.62 and $8.67 per share, with revenue in the range of $81.8 billion to $82.3 billion. Prior to reporting, analysts were expecting full-year earnings guidance between $8.53 and $8.63 a share on revenue in the range of $82.4 billion and $83.2 billion.

Shares of J&J were up more than 2% in premarket trading.

J&J’s pharmaceutical business, which accounts for half of the company’s revenue, posted revenue of $10.88 billion, better than the $10.41 billion projection compiled by StreetAccount.

The company’s consumer unit, which makes beauty products such as Neutrogena, reported revenue of $3.46 billion, in line with Wall Street’s expectations. J&J’s medical device unit reported revenue of $6.3 billion, slightly better than $6.27 billion analysts were expecting.

“Our third-quarter results represent strong performance, driven by competitive underlying growth in Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices, as well as continued optimization in our Consumer business,” J&J Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky said in a statement.

Sales J&J’s rheumatoid arthritis drug Remicade fell 24% year over year. Sales of its multiple myeloma drug Darzalex increased 53.5% year over year to $765 million, while sales of cancer drug Imbruvica increased 30.6% to $921 million.

The maker of popular consumer product brands like Tylenol and Aveeno, J&J is facing thousands of lawsuits ranging from claims that its talc-based baby powder causes cancer to allegations that it helped fuel that nationwide opioid epidemic.

J&J in August was ordered by an Oklahoma judge to pay the state $572 million in the first ruling in the U.S. holding a drugmaker accountable for the epidemic. And last week, a Philadelphia jury ordered J&J to pay $8 billion in punitive damages for downplaying risks that its antipsychotic drug Risperdal could promote breast growth in boys.

Chief Financial Officer Joseph Wolk told CNBC on Tuesday that the company is open to “a reasonable” settlement that would settle the hundreds of opioid lawsuits from state and local municipalities, adding its painkillers represented less than 1% of the overall market.

“Where it makes sense for all stakeholders, we’ll look to have a settlement,” he said on “Squawk Box.”

Earlier this month, J&J settled opioid claims with two Ohio counties for $20.4 million.

The company did not report its litigation expenses for the third quarter.

Despite the lawsuits, J&J’s shares were up by about 1% so far this year as of Monday, and some Wall Street analysts were expecting a relatively uneventful quarter with modest growth in its pharmaceutical and consumer units.