While overall earnings were ahead of what analysts predicted for drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, it is clear that generic competition has hurt the company's sales. The company earned $2.6 billion (94 cents per share) in the fourth quarter, a little more than it did in the fourth quarter of 2007, when it earned $2.5 billion (88 cents per share).
While its consumer products division showed a 1.2 percent increase in sales globally, its medical device unit sales were down by 1.9 percent. Cordis, a J&J unit that makes stents, saw sales drop to $722 million, or to 16.8 percent. However, its prescription medications took the greatest hit. Sales of Razadyne, its medication for Alzheimer disease dropped by 77.6 percent to $11 million, and Risperdal, dropped 84 percent since the fourth quarter of 2007.
Overall, the company reported a 4.9 percent decline in revenue to $15.8 billion, the company's first revenue decline in 76 years.
J&J chairperson Bill Weldon said that J&J is confident it is positioned well for growth, and that the company has made significant progress in its research pipeline.