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Merck profits fall 57 per cent

Merck has reported a 57 per cent fall in profits to $1.42bn for the first quarter of 2009, down from $3.33bn in the same reporting period in 2008

Merck has reported a 57 per cent fall in profits to $1.42bn for the first quarter of 2009, down from $3.33bn in the same reporting period in 2008. The US firm said the loss was due primarily to the negative impact of foreign exchange, which resulted in a 3 per cent reduction in global sales for the quarter.

Merck's chairman, president and chief executive officer, Richard Clark, said: "Our first-quarter results in part reflect the impact of the difficult global economy on patients, providers... but we remain on track to meet our full-year earnings guidance."

Despite its first-quarter losses, the company remains confident that its planned $41.1bn merger with Schering-Plough will ensure sustainable growth.

"We believe our planned merger with Schering-Plough will accelerate Merck's transformation into a global healthcare leader built for sustainable growth and success," Richard Clark said.

Until the merger is complete, both entities would continue to operate independently. The merger will double the number of medicines Merck has in phase III development, bringing the total to 18.

27th April 2009

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