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The sprawling 134-year-old health conglomerate eked out 0.6% sales growth in 2019 thanks to the strong performance of its pharmaceutical business, and particularly its immunology and oncology drugs. J&J’s consumer business—with a portfolio that includes Neutrogena, Tylenol, and Listerine—was boosted by the acquisition of Zarbee’s, a purveyor of naturally based over-the-counter remedies. The company continued its push into the robotic surgery market in an effort to revive its struggling medical device business. J&J is also mired in litigation surrounding its opioid and baby powder products. (In May, it announced it would stop selling talc-based baby powder.) While COVID-19 has dinged sales of some of its products—like contact lenses and artificial knees and hips—the company is one of the frontrunners in the race for a vaccine; J&J has said it hopes to begin late-stage human trials by the end of September.
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