Drugmaker Merck & Co. says double-digit sales growth for a half-dozen of its top medicines fueled a 7 percent jump in first-quarter sales. But charges for its November deal to buy Schering-Plough Corp. pulled profit down sharply.
The maker of asthma and allergy pill Singulair and cholesterol drugs Vytorin and Zetia is reporting earnings of $298.8 million, or just 9 cents per share.
A year earlier, before Merck's megadeal to buy Schering-Plough for $41 billion, Merck earned 67 cents per share on revenue of $5.39 billion. The new Schering products helped boost sales to $11.42 billion.
Excluding 74 cents worth of charges, Merck would have earned 83 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected, on average, earnings per share of 75 cents and revenue of $11.18 billion.
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