Johnson & Johnson earnings beat expectations despite legal challenges from opioids and talc

Health, Fitness & Food

A Johnson & Johnson building is shown in Irvine, California.

Mike Blake | Reuters

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

Shares of J&J were up more than 1% 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 $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.

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.

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

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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