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Merck upbeat over future sales


Pharmaceutical giant Merck is forecasting that sales of its products are set to rise next year.

The company said its cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil, diabetes treatment Januvia (sitagliptin) and its allergy drug Singulair (montelukast) will all increase during 2008.

But it is warning that competition from generic manufacturers will affect revenues of its popular osteoporosis treatment Fosamax (alendronate sodium).

The news comes as the firm told Wall Street analysts that its profits for this year and next will be below market predictions.

It is a further blow for the company, which last month announced it will pay $4.85bn (£2.39bn) to settle thousands of lawsuits stemming from its painkiller Vioxx (rofecoxib), which it withdrew from sale in 2004.

A plan to cut operating costs is also on track, as Merck has already axed about 6,000 jobs and expects to reach its target of eliminating 7,000 positions by the end of 2008.

Richard Clark, Merck’s chairman, president and CEO, said the group expects “to deliver compound annual double-digit earnings growth, excluding certain items, by 2010”.

Peter Kellogg, chief financial officer, added: “Despite the loss of
marketing exclusivity for Fosamax in the United States in February 2008, the company anticipates solid earnings growth in 2008.”

Copyright © PA Business 2007


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