J&J credits Remicade, Zytiga for 7% hike in Q3 drug sales

Generic competition hit a few of Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) big sellers during the third quarter, but other products--including its newest ones--more than filled the breach. The company's pharma division turned in a 7% increase in sales, to $6.4 billion, even after a 4.3 percentage-point currency hit.

J&J's biggest heroes for the quarter, pharma-wise, include Remicade, the anti-inflammatory drug, which grew by 13% worldwide, to almost $1.6 billion. Stelara, another immunology product, added almost $100 million to its sales, a 52% increase. Velcade, the blood cancer treatment, grew by 10.8% to $327 million. J&J assures us that its new hep C treatment, Incivo, and clot-fighter Xarelto both channeled growth to its top line, but didn't break out the numbers on those drugs.

But it was Zytiga, the prostate cancer therapy that made its debut last year, that delivered the most impressive growth; U.S. sales almost doubled, to $136 million, and internationally, the numbers almost tripled, to $265 million. For the first 9 months of the year, Zytiga revenues jumped to $697 million from $149 million. With a new approval in early prostate cancer, that growth could well continue.

On the down side, U.S. sales of the Concerta ADHD treatment, which now has generic competition, dipped 16.2%, to $150 million. The Levaquin franchise continued to lose ground to generics, but its sales are already in the low double-digits, so J&J isn't counting on much.

The biggest loser was Doxil, the cancer treatment J&J has struggled to supply since manufacturing violations forced its contractor to suspend production. U.S. sales had already ground almost to a halt--it brought in only $9 million for the third quarter domestically, but that's down only slightly from last year's $10 million. International sales plummeted, though, as supply problems caught up with it, so overall, Doxil lost 81.4% of its sales, ending the quarter with just $16 million.

But that dive may reverse itself, and quickly; J&J now says it's ending its rationing program and anticipates filling in with new supply, based on a manufacturing plan it has submitted for regulatory approval.

- see the release from J&J
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- check out FierceMedicalDevices' take on J&J's device growth

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