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J&J beats forecast, takes new charge for recalled hips

In this Oct. 10, 2008 file photo illustration, Johnson & Johnson products are shown in Philadelphia.

Matt Rourke/AP

Johnson & Johnson reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday, fuelled by rebounding sales of prescription drugs and demand for its medical devices, but took another big special charge for its recalled artificial hips.

The diversified health care company on Tuesday said it earned $2.6-billion (U.S.), or 91 cents per share. That compared with $218-million, or 8 cents per share, in the year-ago period when the company took charges of more than $3-billion, including $800-million for medical costs related to recalls of defective "metal-on-metal" hip replacement devices made by its DePuy Orthopedics unit.

Excluding special items, J&J earned $1.19 per share. Analysts, on average, expected $1.17 per share.

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Global revenue rose 8 per cent to $17.56-billion, below Wall Street expectations of $17.7-billion.

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