Profits target upped by J&J

HEALTHCARE giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) yesterday upped its profit forecast for this year, despite a first-quarter slump caused by product recalls.

The US firm revealed earnings of $3.48bn (£2.1bn) for the first three months of this year, down 23 per cent on the $4.53bn it made over the same period a year earlier.

Recalling a hip replacement product cost it $271m in charges, plus further costs due to the withdrawal of 300m packages of consumer medicines.

US sales were also hit, after regulators called a halt on production at its Pennsylvania consumer drug facility after lapses in quality control were discovered. However, total sales managed to increase despite being “significantly impacted”, according to the firm. Revenues increased 3.5 per cent to $16.17bn, above Wall Street expectations of $15.84bn.