On Tuesday morning, Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) reported third-quarter net income growth of 20% to $2.07 billion, or $0.69 per share, beating analyst estimates by a penny. Revenue grew an impressive 15.2% to $10.5 billion, driven by growth in both pharmaceuticals and sales of its drug-coated stent, Cypher.

Worldwide, drug sales grew 13% to $4.8 billion, accounting for an ever-increasing portion of J&J's revenues. However, sales of Procrit/Eprex fell 8% to $1 billion due to stiff competition from Amgen's (NASDAQ:AMGN) Aranesp.

The hot topic, however, was J&J's Cypher.

Cypher is the only drug-coated stent approved (as of last April) in the U.S. Already, in the third quarter it was used in half of the heart-stent procedures performed in this country, accounting for 78% of all dollar sales. All told, Cypher brought in $478 million in the third quarter, helping drive a 20% revenue increase in J&J's medical device unit.

J&J struggled to meet demand in the early months following Cypher's launch, so sales should pick up in the fourth quarter. The company said it expects to be able to supply demand in both the U.S. and Europe by next month.

But while J&J has had a head start, Boston Scientific's (NYSE:BSX) own drug-coated stent is in trials and should see approval early next year. As Jeff Fischer recently pointed out, Boston Scientific's Taxus should be exceptionally competitive.

Showing impressive growth for a company with $40 billion in run-rate revenues, it is notable that 3.5% of J&J's 15.2% sales growth came from gains in currency. The company also raised its 2003 earnings estimate from $2.62 to $2.64 per share.

Shares of Johnson & Johnson are up 2% to $50.74 midday, bouncing off a 52-week low.

Jeff Hwang can be reached at JHwang@fool.com.