updated 4/19/2007 8:32:51 AM ET 2007-04-19T12:32:51

Merck & Co. Inc. said Thursday its first-quarter profit jumped 12 percent, with the drugmaker crediting higher sales and one-time gains from product divestitures.

The maker of Fosamax for osteoporosis and Singulair for asthma and allergies posted net income of $1.7 billion, or 78 cents per share, up from $1.52 billion, or 69 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2006.

Excluding a charge of 6 cents per share for its ongoing global restructuring program, Merck said income was 84 cents per share. That matched the forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial, who had bumped up their estimates last Thursday when Merck raised its earnings forecast.

In the year-ago quarter, Merck took a charge of 9 cents per share for the restructuring.

Sales totaled $5.77 billion, up nearly 7 percent from $5.41 billion a year earlier. Analysts had expected revenues of $5.36 billion.

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