Johnson & Johnson has reported a 5.1% leap in third-quarter sales to $18.47 billion, as a solid performance by its pharmaceuticals segment helped the firm beat expectations on the street.

At $8.3 billion, the group’s global pharma sales were 18.1% higher than those booked for the year-ago period, driven by core products as well as newcomers such as: hepatitis C drug Olysio/Sovriad (simeprevir), which generated $796 million; the blood thinner Xarelto (rivaroxaban), up 68% at $414 million; and prostate cancer therapy Zytiga (abiraterone acetate), up 22% at $568 million.

On the downside, revenues from the antipsychotic Risperdal Consta (risperidone) dropped 12.9% to $284 million and multiple myeloma drug Velcade slipped 3.7% to $389 million, while turnover of the Consumer Segment also slipped 0.6% to $3.6 billion because of a currency drag.

Nevertheless, net earnings (excluding special items) came in at $4.3 billion and earnings per share to $1.50, marking increases of 9.5% and 10.3%, respectively. Analysts had been expecting EPS of $1.44 share, according to a consensus forecast compiled by Thomson Reuters.

On the back of its strong performance, the healthcare giant has, for the third time in a row, raised its full-year outlook, now expecting earnings (adjusted for one-time items) per share of between $5.92 and $5.97 for 2014.