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BRIEFLY / PHARMACEUTICALS

Merck Sees Sales of Older Drugs Falling

February 16, 2001|Reuters

Merck & Co. warned that sales of some key older medicines facing patent expirations will plummet in 2001, although that loss will be more than offset by soaring revenue from five crucial newer medicines. Merck said worldwide sales of those older drugs--Vasotec for hypertension, ulcer medicine Pepcid and cholesterol treatment Mevacor--will drop to about $2 billion this year from $3.16 billion in 2000. But it expects sales growth from the newer drugs--Vioxx, Zocor, Cozaar/Hyzaar, Singulair and Fosamax--which represent 61% of global prescription medicines sales. Shares of Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck fell $1.53 to $78.10 on the New York Stock Exchange. The company said it remains comfortable with 2001 earnings estimates of $3.15 to $3.25, or growth of 8.6% to 12% over last year. That is in line with the average estimate of $3.22 from analysts polled by First Call.

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