The drugmaker massively slashed expenses. As Fred Katayama reports, Merck issued a profit and revenue forecast that was roughly in line with expectations.
Quarterly profit at Merck shot sharply higher as it massively slashed expenses. Sales of its key immuno-oncology drug, Keytruda, more than doubled, but that increase fell well shy of Wall Street's expectations. Overall pharmaceutical sales fell because Merck lost market exclusivity for some drugs including the skin treatment Cubicin and nasal allergy treatment Nasonex. Those were partially offset by strong sales of oncology, hepatitis C, diabetes drugs and vaccines. Merck issued a profit and revenue forecast for the full year that was roughly in line with expectations. Bernstein analyst Timothy Anderson called that forecast "... a relief, in the context of Merck's prior cautionary language, and relative to what other drugs companies have been guiding for in 2017." Merck shares added on to their 5 percent gain this year at the start of trading.