Higher prices for MS drug help drug firm Merck

by David Mchugh

(AP)—Higher prices for its multiple sclerosis drug Rebif helped German pharmaceutical and high-tech materials company Merck KGaA post a 54 percent rise in first-quarter profit.

Merck also saw stronger sales of materials for liquid-crystal displays and raised its profit forecast, saying it would achieve its 2014 goals this year.

Its optimism came after it reported of 266 million euros ($345 million) in the first three months of the year, up from 172.7 euros a year earlier. Total revenues rose 4.4 percent to 2.76 billion.

The company said Tuesday that Rebif revenue rose 6 percent to 454 million euros due to price increases in the U.S. and higher sales in Europe. Sales rose 6.6 percent for cancer drug to 222 million euros. Its materials division saw stronger business in liquid crystal products used in electronics displays, although it cautioned that it appeared some purchasers were stockpiling the materials and that demand could fall in the second part of the year.

The company said it was pressing ahead with a cost cutting program and said it would achieve 165 million euros in savings from that program this year. Its employee headcount fell by about 500 during the quarter to 38,311.

The company said it would now reach its 2014 goal of 3.1 billion-3.2 billion euros in operating profits this year, instead of in 2014. Its shares traded 1.3 percent higher in morning trading in Europe at 123.55 euros.

Merck, based in Darmstadt, Germany, is a different company from U.S.-based & Co., Inc.

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Merck Q4 net profit more than doubles

Mar 07, 2013

Merck KGaA saw its profit more than double in the fourth quarter as the German pharmaceutical company benefited from higher prices for its Rebif multiple sclerosis drug and reaped rewards from its ongoing restructuring.

Bayer profits up 11.5 percent on new drugs

Apr 25, 2013

German chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer AG said Thursday that its net profit rose 11.5 percent in the first quarter as new drugs, led by blood thinner Xarelto, boosted sales.

Generic competition cuts Merck's Q1 sales, profit

May 01, 2013

Drugmaker Merck & Co. is reporting lower first-quarter results and cutting its 2013 profit forecast by 15 cents a share. It also is announcing a huge share buyback, up to $15 billion worth of its stock.

Recommended for you

British Lords hold ten-hour debate on assisted dying

Jul 19, 2014

Members of Britain's unelected House of Lords spent almost ten hours on Friday discussing whether to legalise assisted dying, in an often emotional debate putting the question back on the agenda, if not on the statute books.

AbbVie, Shire agree on $55B combination

Jul 18, 2014

The drugmaker AbbVie has reached a deal worth roughly $55 billion to combine with British counterpart Shire and become the latest U.S. company to seek an overseas haven from tax rates back home.

Safety problems at US germ labs acknowledged

Jul 16, 2014

(AP)—The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged Wednesday that systemic safety problems have for years plagued federal public health laboratories that handle dangerous ...

User comments