Johnson & Johnson has announced an overall sales decline of 4.1 percent to $17.4 billion for the first quarter of 2015 as compared to the first quarter a year ago, with currency exchange rates depressing the results by 7.2 percentage points. Sales rose by 5.9 percent in the U.S. but fell by 12.4 percent elsewhere, with a negative currency impact of 13.2 percentage points. Net earnings fell by 8.6 percent to $4.32 billion.

Globally, the company's vision care segment, which includes its contact lens business, dropped by 17.1 percent in the quarter to $631 million, with decreases of 11.5 percent in the U.S. to $253 million and 20.4 percent internationally to $378 million.

The segment's sales were negatively affected by buying patterns and competitive pricing dynamics, the company said. Pharmaceutical sales grew by 3 percent versus the first quarter last year to $7.7 billion.

In the vision care business, international sales fell by 20.4 percent to $378 million. U.S. sales totaled $253 million, down 11.5 percent from the first quarter a year ago.