J&J forecasts disappointing 2019 sales, defends talc safety
today Jan 22, 2019
Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday forecast 2019 sales that fell short of analysts’ estimates as the healthcare conglomerate faces increasing competition for some of its older drugs.
J&J said it expects full-year sales of $80.4 billion to $81.2 billion, below Wall Street estimates of $82.69 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Strength in the pharmaceuticals business helped offset higher costs, including a doubling of litigation expense in the fourth quarter to $1.29 billion.
Most of that was related to resolving older lawsuits in its medical devices business, spokesman Ernie Knewitz said in an email response to Reuters. For the full year, litigation expenses rose to $1.9 billion from $1.3 billion in 2017. About 10 percent of that total was related to talc, Knewitz said.
J&J is facing more than 11,000 lawsuits over the safety of talc in its products, including baby powder, alleging that its use caused cancer.
“We remain committed to ensuring the facts about our talc are understood and we will continue to defend the safety of our products,” Gorsky said.
Reuters on Dec. 14 published a special report detailing that the company knew for decades that cancer-causing asbestos could be found in its talc.
J&J has repeatedly said that its talc products are safe, and that decades of studies have shown them to be asbestos-free and that they do not cause cancer.
Sales in the quarter rose about 1 percent to $20.39 billion, topping Wall Street estimates of $20.20 billion.
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