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China sales, Singulair drive Merck's Q1-2012 net to $3 bn news
28 April 2012

US pharmaceutical giant Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, registered strong growth in the first quarter of 2012, registering a non-GAAP net income rise of 6.4 per cent to $3 billion.

''Merck's first-quarter results again demonstrated our ability to execute on our strategic plans and grow the top and bottom lines,'' said Kenneth C Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck, adding that the company's performance this quarter was driven by the solid contributions across pharmaceutical, animal health and consumer care divisions.

''We are continuing to drive double-digit growth of key brands like Januvia, Gardasil and Isentress, launch new products like Victerelis and achieve solid performance from our diverse businesses. The growth momentum of our underlying business and strength of our late-stage pipeline position us well, as we prepare for the Singulair patent expiry and beyond'', he added.

Its worldwide sales for the first quarter were at $11.7 billion, an increase of 1 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2011, including a 1 per cent negative effect from foreign exchange and a 2 per cent unfavorable impact from the arbitration settlement agreement with Johnson & Johnson (J&J).

Revenues from Merck's cash cow Singular, a once-a-day oral medicine for the chronic treatment of asthma, grew 1 per cent to $1.34 billion. The US patent for Singulair will expire in August 2012, and the company expects a significant decline in sales thereafter. Other best performers among the big-revenue generating drugs were Januvia/Janumet, the diabetes drugs that grew 26 per cent to $1.3 billion, driven by growth in the United States, Europe, Japan and the emerging markets.

The drug maker's first-quarter pharmaceutical sales grew 3 per cent to $10.1 billion. Global sales of Remicade and Simponi, treatments for inflammatory diseases, declined 26 per cent for the first quarter. In July 2011, the company transferred the exclusive marketing rights for these drugs to J&J in Canada, Central and South America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

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China sales, Singulair drive Merck's Q1-2012 net to $3 bn