THOUSAND OAKS, Calif ( TheStreet) -- Amgen ( AMGN) reported better than expected third-quarter earnings on an adjusted basis, boosted by strong drug sales but also a lower share count and tax rate. Revenue and earnings guidance was raised for the remainder of the year.

One major "adjustment" to Amgen's third-quarter results, however, is the accounting gimmick of excluding a $780 million charge taken by the company to settle civil and criminal investigations by federal prosecutors into the company's Medicare marketing practices.

Amgen's adjusted earnings, minus the "legal settlement" and other items, rose 3% to $1.28 billion, or $1.40 per share, compared to $1.31 billion, or $1.36 per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Total revenue increased 3% during the quarter to $3.94 billion from $3.82 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Amgen's adjusted earnings and revenue topped Street consensus expectations.

The company raised its revenue guidance for the remainder of the year to a range of $15.4 billion to $15.6 billion. Previous guidance was for revenue to fall in the upper end of the range of $15.1 billion to $15.5 billion.

Amgen also raised adjusted earnings guidance to $5.15-$5.30 per share from previous estimate of $5-$5.20 per share.

Based on generally accepted accounting principles, Amgen's third-quarter earnings fell sharply to $454 million, or 50 cents a share, compared to $1.24 billion, or $1.28 per share, in the third quarter 2010.

Amgen shares closed Monday at $58.95 ahead of the company's earnings announcement.

--Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

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