Johnson & Johnson's fourth-quarter profit fell, with revenue falling far short of forecasts due to plunging U.S. sales of consumer products that continue to be recalled for quality-control lapses.

The diversified healthcare company, whose shares fell 1.6 percent in trading before the market opened, said it earned $1.9 billion, or 70 cents per share. That compared with $2.2 billion, or 79 cents per share, in the year-earlier period.

Excluding special items, the company earned $1.03 per share, matching the consensus Wall Street forecast.

Global fourth-quarter sales fell 5.5 percent to $15.6 billion, compared with Wall street expectations of $16 billion.

Global consumer product sales dragged down results, as they did in the prior quarter, falling 15 percent to $3.61 billion. U.S. sales of its many consumer brands plunged 29 percent to $1.22 billion, reflecting a continuing train of recalls that have tarnished the company's reputation and taken scores of products off the market.

J&J in the past year has recalled more than 300 million packages of Tylenol and other consumer medicines, after regulators cited grime, faulty procedures and other quality-control lapses at a plant in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, and other factories.

In its latest big action, J&J two weeks ago recalled 50 million bottles and packages of Tylenol, Benadryl, Rolaids and other products because of lax cleaning procedures and other problems at the Pennsylvania plant, which was closed in April for a major overhaul.

(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson, editing by Maureen Bavdek and Matthew Lewis)