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J&J sees a profit rise, as sales dip

Johnson &amp; Johnson, the US healthcare firm, posted weaker-than-expected quarterly sales yesterday as sales of prescription drugs and cardiac stents disappointed.<br /><br />While third-quarter profit topped analyst forecasts, that was largely because of cost cuts and lower taxes.<br /><br />Generic competition and safety concerns have undermined sales of many major products for the firm.<br /><br />Anaemia medicine Procrit, arthritis treatment Remicade and attention deficit disorder drug Concerta fell short of analyst targets for the quarter. New Jersey-based Johnson &amp; Johnson said net earnings rose 1.1 per cent to $3.35bn (&pound;2.11bn), from $3.31bn a year earlier.<br /><br />Unexpectedly lower taxes in the quarter bolstered results by five cents per share, said Johnson &amp; Johnson chief financial officer Dominic Caruso.<br /><br />He said the lower taxes would continue in the fourth quarter and improve full-year results &ndash; offsetting the negative impact on earnings of recent acquisitions. <br />Sales fell 5.3 per cent to $15.08bn, a bit further than the $15.22bn analysts had forecast. <br /><br />Johnson &amp; Johnson Procrit and Eprex anaemia drugs continued to suffer because of safety concerns for the category, with combined sales falling 12 per cent to $542m.<br />