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J&J Q1 net up 8% on sales jump, lower costs

Johnson & Johnson's first-quarter profit rose 8 percent, because of restrained costs and a big jump in prescription drug sales.

The world's biggest maker of health care products easily beat Wall Street expectations and raised its earnings outlook, driving up its shares to a new high for the year.

The maker of Tylenol, medical devices and prescription drugs said Tuesday that net income was US$4.73 billion, or US$1.64 per share, up from US$3.5 billion, or US$1.22 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, income was US$4.43 billion, or US$1.54 per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected US$1.48.

The company, based in New Brunswick, N.J., said revenue totaled US$18.12 billion, up 3.5 percent. Sales of prescription drugs, currently the strongest of J&J's three business segments, jumped 11 percent to US$7.5 billion as sales overseas surged 14 percent.

Meanwhile, sales for medical devices and diagnostics were flat at US$7.06 billion, and sales of consumer health products fell 3.2 percent to US$3.56 billion.

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