Pharmaceutical firm Merck hurt by drug failure ahead of earnings

Business Materials 22 July 2008 04:45 (UTC +04:00)

US pharmaceutical firm Merck & Co dropped on Wall Street Monday ahead of its earnings release after a study showed a cholesterol-lowering drug did not prevent complications from heart- valve disease and was linked to higher cancer rates.

The drug, Vytorin, produced by Merck and Schering-Plough Corp, did lower cholesterol as promised, but did not did not reduce heart problems and had a larger incidence of cancer among study participants than a placebo - though researchers said that may have been coincidental, Bloomberg financial news reported.

Merck shares dropped 6.2 per cent on the news.

In quarterly earnings reports released after the close of trading, Merck said profits rose 5 per cent to 1.8 billion dollars. Revenues rose 1 per cent in the second quarter to 6.1 billion dollars, the third-largest US pharmaceutical firm said in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, dpa reported.