Abbott, J&J grow revenues on strong pharma sales

First-quarter earnings are in full swing, with new reports from Big Pharma and smaller companies alike. Abbott Laboratories grew sales and beat expectations on earnings, while Johnson & Johnson saw lower profits overall, but strong performance in its pharma business. Meanwhile, Elan turned a profit with a big increase in drug sales. Here's more:

  • J&J profits may have fallen, but excluding special items that included recall costs, EPS came in at $1.35, nine cents better than the Reuters forecast of $1.26. Plus, the company raised its full-year earnings forecast. Overall sales grew 3.5 percent to just over $16 billion, with U.S. sales dropping slightly and overseas numbers rising by seven percent. Pharma sales grew by 7.5 percent. "It was a good quarter, and it was really the pharmaceuticals division that led the way," Gabelli & Co analyst Jeff Jonas told Reuters. Report | Report

  • Abbott's sales grew with the help of its Humira arthritis drug, which rose by 18 percent to $1.65 billion. Generics sales in emerging markets also shone, helping to boost global revenue by 17.4 percent to $9.04 billion. The weaker dollar contributed to the strong sales, analysts said. Other drugs that performed well include the blood lipids drugs TriCor and Trilipix, which together brought in $372 million. Abbott release | Report

  • Forest Laboratories' net income rose to $322.5 million, but it was the drugmaker's predictions about 2013 that had analysts buzzing. The company projected earnings would not slump as much as Wall Street had feared after patent protection expires on the top-selling antidepressant Lexapro. Report

  • Elan reported a 23 percent jump in first-quarter sales of its flagship multiple sclerosis treatment Tysabri, saying the drug's performance helped fuel net profits of $68 million, a turnaround from last year's net loss of $6.8 million. CFO Shane Cooke said Tysabri revenue has now reached an annualized run-rate of $1.4 billion in in-market sales, offsetting the loss of revenues from a number of legacy products. Report