Growth of 8.3 per cent in the fourth quarter to US$22.5 billion helped Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) revenues increase 0.6 per cent to US$82.6 billion for the full 2020 calendar year.

Most of the steam in Q4 came from the pharmaceutical division – up 16.3 per cent in sales.

The consumer health division, including the Aveeno, Neutrogena, Clean & Clear, OGX and Maui Moisture haircare brands, also enjoyed a 1.4 per cent uptick for the period.

The oral category, led by new launches from Listerine, and Dr Ci:Labo, the number one medical skincare brand in Japan, were also bright spots for the multinational.

Sales in the beauty and health division are likely to be flat in the first quarter, notes Joe Wolk, executive vice-president and CFO at J&J. Although sales are expected to lift in the second half of the year as consumers returned to more typical usage patterns in skin health and beauty.

J&J have released a cautious guidance for 2021 and are looking at operational sales growth of 8.8 per cent for the year.

Alex Gorsky, chairman and CEO of J&J, confirmed that 2020 had been a year dominated by uncertainty. But reiterated that J&J was “built for times like this”, as a large, broad-based global health care company.

The multinational has also increased R&D investments to record levels, added Gorsky.

Last week, J&J announced details of its single shot Covid-19 vaccine, which is expected to cost as little as AUD$13 and doesn’t require cold storage.

The company is poised to apply for emergency use authorisation from the USFDA and expects to supply 100 million doses in the US by June.

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