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Earnings Preview: J&J 4Q Report On Devices, Drugs

By LINDA A. JOHNSON

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) â¿¿ Health care giant Johnson & Johnson will focus on medical devices and new prescription drugs in development, plus progress on its manufacturing problems, when it reports fourth-quarter results before the stock market opens Tuesday.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Besides announcing its results and giving its 2013 financial forecast, J&J is hosting a periodic update for analysts, this one on its medical devices and diagnostics business. It's grown into J&J's biggest segment, with roughly $26 billion in annual revenue from surgical devices, artificial joints, Acuvue contact lenses, diabetes testing supplies and diagnostic equipment.

Executives will discuss products in development, growth strategies in developed and emerging markets and the approval of Evarrest, a sealant patch for stopping serious bleeding during surgery.

They'll give an update on the integration of Synthes Inc., a maker of surgical trauma equipment and orthopedic implants. J&J bought Synthes in June for $19.7 billion, its biggest acquisition ever.

It's been folded into J&J's DePuy orthopedics business as the new DePuy Synthes, which also makes devices and power tools for spine disorders, joint repair and sports medicine.

J&J, based in New Brunswick, N.J., also sells prescription drugs and consumer health products such as Listerine and No More Tears baby shampoo.

CEO Alex Gorsky, who also became J&J's chairman on Dec. 28 when predecessor Bill Weldon stepped down, will address the analysts and likely give an update on progress upgrading manufacturing plants.

The company has issued more than 30 recalls of nonprescription drugs since September 2009, for reasons from nauseating packaging smells to tiny glass and metal shards in liquid medicines. Costs for upgrades and completely rebuilding one factory, and for lost sales as Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl and other products remained off store shelves, have mounted well past $1 billion.

The company has repeatedly pushed back its forecast for when the recalled products will be back in stores, has discontinued some brands and recently sold one, Rolaids, to Sanofi SA.

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