Merck & Co Q1 sales hurt by generics, currency impact

pharmafile | May 6, 2016 | News story | Medical Communications, Sales and Marketing Financial, Merck & Co, Q1, Revenye, earnings, results, sales 

US pharma major Merck & Co (NYSE: MRK) posted a drop in first-quarter sales impacted the launch of generic competition and foreign exchange rates.

The company said for 2016 it now sees adjusted earnings per share of between $3.65 and $3.77, compared with $3.60 to $3.75 forecast earlier. It expects revenue to be between $39 billion and $40.2 billion. 

The change in outlook for earnings reflects favourable foreign exchange rates, partially offset by the earlier than expected entry of a generic version of its allergy drug Nasonex, Merck said in a statement.

The drugmaker said sales dropped 1% to $9.3 billion against $9.4 billion a year ago. The company posted a profit of $1.13 billion, or 40 cents a share, up from $953 million, or 33 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding restructuring and acquisition-related costs, per-share earnings rose to 89 cents from 85 cents.

Product Sales

Nasonex sales fell 21% in the first quarter from a year ago on the back of generic rivals in the market.  A generic version of the therapy was launched in the US in March, and Merck sees sales to take a significant hit in future.

Sales of inflammatory diseases drug Remicade dropped 30% year-on-year impacted by competition from biosimilars.

Total sales from Type 2 diabetes drugs Januvia and Janumet were up 1% year on year.

Sales for cancer drug Keytruda grew to $249 million in against $83 million a year earlier.

The total pharmaceutical revenue in the quarter dropped 2% to $8.1 billion, including a 4% negative impact from currency fluctuations.

Anjali Shukla

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