(Reuters) - Healthcare conglomerate Johnson & Johnson (>> Johnson & Johnson) cut its full-year profit forecast on Tuesday, saying it expected a strong dollar to keep hurting its international business.
J&J, which reported higher-than-expected quarterly results, warned in January that the dollar's strength could reduce earnings by 42 cents per share this year. The company gets half of its revenue from abroad.
The dollar <.DXY> gained nearly 9 percent against a basket of major currencies in the first quarter after rising 13 percent in 2014. A stronger dollar lowers the value of sales in foreign markets.
J&J lowered its full-year profit forecast to between $6.04 and $6.19 per share from its prior outlook of $6.12 to $6.27. It earned $5.97 last year.
"Every large multinational healthcare company will be affected this quarter by the stronger dollar, along with the rest of corporate America," said Stifel Nicolaus & Co analyst Rick Wise.
J&J's sales of medical devices and consumer products fell sharply in the first quarter, hurt by rival brands and the strong dollar.
The bright spot in J&J's earnings report was U.S. sales of pharmaceuticals, which jumped 17 percent on demand for new treatments for diabetes, blood cancers, prostate cancer and blood clots.
Global pharmaceutical sales rose 3 percent to $7.7 billion (5 billion pounds) even as the stronger dollar held them back by 7.2 percent.
Investors have been concerned that Celltrion Inc (>> Celltrion, Inc.) might get U.S. regulatory approval of a cheaper "biosimilar" form of J&J's $6 billion-a-year Remicade arthritis treatment before the branded drug loses patent protection in September 2018.
J&J has appealed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's recent rejection of Remicade's basic patent. Chief Financial Officer Dominic Caruso on Tuesday said the company would be entitled to a series of appeals that could assure Remicade's marketing exclusivity for almost three years.
"It was encouraging to hear their confidence that they can continue to delay the biosimilar's launch," said Edward Jones analyst Ashtyn Evans.
J&J's quarterly net profit fell to $4.32 billion, or $1.53 per share, from $4.73 billion, or $1.64 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding special items such as writedowns of intangible assets, J&J earned $1.56 per share, beating the analysts' average estimate of $1.54, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales fell 4.1 percent to $17.37 billion but still topped analysts' expectations of $17.31 billion.
Shares of J&J were up 7 cents at $100.62 in afternoon trading.
(Additional reporting by Vidya Nathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)
By Ransdell Pierson