updated 10/22/2007 9:18:01 AM ET 2007-10-22T13:18:01

Merck & Co. posted a 62 percent increase in its third-quarter profit Monday, as the drugmaker's revenues increased by double digits, while lower administration and overhead costs offset more spending on research and development.

The Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based maker of osteoporosis treatment Fosamax and Singulair for asthma and allergies reported net income of $1.53 billion, or 70 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30 up from $940.6 million, or 63 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenues totaled $6.07 billion, up 12 percent from $5.4 billion a year ago.

Excluding a charge for an acquisition and a gain from a patent settlement, net income would have been 75 cents per share.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected a profit of 69 cents per share, excluding one-time items, on revenue of $6.06 billion.

Sales were led by Singulair, at $1 billion; the blood pressure medicines Cozaar and Hyzaar, at $814 million; Fosamax, with $725 million in sales; and several vaccines.

"Our third-quarter results reflect the continued progress Merck is making to deliver on our strategy," chief executive officer Richard Clarke said in a statement.

However, Vioxx liability continues to hang over the company, which added $70 million to its reserves for defending lawsuits over the blockbuster painkiller it pulled from the market three years ago.

For the first nine months of the year, net income rose to $4.9 billion, or $2.24 per share, up 24 percent from $3.96 billion, or $1.81 per share, a year earlier.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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