By LINDA A. JOHNSON  AP Medical Writer

Lower sales overseas and higher costs for research and litigation pushed Johnson & Johnson’s first-quarter profit down 14%, but the health care giant beat profit and revenue expectations, pushing up its shares.

The maker of Tylenol and psoriasis drug Stelara on Tuesday said unfavorable currency exchange rates reduced revenue by nearly 4%, leaving total sales flat at $20.03 billion, though that edged out analysts’ muted projections.

Sales of prescription medicines were the bright spot as usual, rising 4% and now accounting for over half of the New Brunswick, New Jersey, company’s total revenue.The segment just got a boost from two U.S. Food and Drug Administration approvals, in March for nasal spray treatment Spravato for treatment-resistant depression and last week for bladder cancer drug Balversa.

“The good far outweighs any possible questions or concerns investors could have,” particularly since total drug sales increased despite cheaper competition to key drugs, Danielle Antalffy of SVB Leerink wrote to investors. “These quarterly results should increase investor confidence.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.