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Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson battles delays and raises profit forecast


Stock image. Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty

Stock image. Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty

Stock image. Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty

Johnson & Johnson yesterday raised its annual adjusted profit forecast, but stuck to its Covid-19 vaccine sales target of $2.5bn (€2.15bn) as it works its way through production challenges that have resulted in delays.

The drugmaker has faced quality problems at a Baltimore factory that produces the single-dose vaccine, resulting in wastage of millions of doses.

The vaccine has the lowest uptake in the US at a time when rivals Moderna Inc and Pfizer sign up supply deals for booster doses in 2022 and beyond.

The J&J shot, once touted an as important tool for vaccinating hard-to-reach areas, is behind its schedule for deliveries in the US and Europe.

Meanwhile, a decision by the US Food and Drug Administration on booster doses of the vaccine is pending.

Shares rose 1pc as the company’s third-quarter profit beat Wall Street expectations and it lifted 2021 forecast for adjusted earnings per share to between $9.77 and $9.82, from its prior estimates of $9.60 to $9.70.

Sales of its cancer and immune disease drugs helped the healthcare conglomerate report a 13.8pc rise in sales to roughly $13bn at its large pharmaceuticals unit. The Covid vaccine contributes only a fraction to sales.

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Sales in its medical devices unit rose 8pc to $6.64bn in the third quarter, as a restart of non-urgent procedures helped soften the blow from weak demand for medical devices used in sports and spine procedures.

Excluding items, J&J earned $2.60 per share, beating expectations of $2.35 per share. 

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