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Merck global Q3 sales up 2 per cent

Merck lists the growth of key products and tight expense management as factors of the company's strong Q3 growth

Merck lists the growth of key products and tight expense management as factors of the company's strong Q3 growth.

Merck has reported worldwide sales for Q3 2009 of $6.0bn and non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.90. However, income from global sales was down 3 per cent due to unfavourable affects of foreign exchange.

Merck spent $42m on restructuring, primarily redundancies, in Q3 of 2009 compared with $757m in the same period of 2008. Total costs associated with global restructuring programmes stood at $117m in Q3 2009 compared with $757m for Q3 2008.

Global sales of asthma drug, Singulair (montelukast), increased by 5 per cent in Q3 2009 compared with the same period in the previous year. The company's type 2 diabetes therapy, Januvia (sitagliptin) recorded a 30 per cent increase in worldwide sales of $491m for the quarter.

Meanwhile, sales of the HPV vaccine, Gardasil were down 22 per cent on Q3 2008, with sales of $311m for Q4 2009. Merck's antihypertensive medicines, Cozaar (losartan potassium) and Hyzaar (losartan potassium and hydrochlorothiazide), also saw a drop in sales, and the company expects further significant losses with the pending patent expiry and loss of exclusivity for these drugs.

"Growth of key products, Januvia, Janumet [sitagliptin/metformin HCl], Isentress [raltegravir] and Singulair, plus continued expense management allowed Merck to deliver strong third quarter results," said Richard T Clark, chairman, president and CEO at Merck. "While focused on the day-to-day business priorities that are fundamental to our success, we're also primed for our pending merger with Schering-Plough, and the benefits it will bring to patients around the world."

It is anticipated that the merger between Merck and Schering-Plough will close in Q4 2009. Shareholders in both companies have voted in favour of the merger and three current Schering-Plough directors will remain board members as part of the new entity.

22nd October 2009

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