Merck first-quarter sales disappoint


Merck & Co Inc reported lower than expected first quarter sales, as generic competition hurt demand for its Singulair asthma drug and the stronger dollar hit overseas sales of its medicines.

Merck on Wednesday reported net income of $1.59 billion, or 52 cents per share. That compared with $1.74 billion, or 56 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter, when Merck took charges for $1.6 billion of acquisition and restructuring costs.

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Company sales fell 9 percent to $10.7 billion, below the $11.09 billion Wall Street was expecting.

(Reporting By Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)