updated 10/24/2005 9:02:32 AM ET 2005-10-24T13:02:32

Merck & Co. posted a 7 percent increase in third-quarter profit Monday as lower costs for materials and production offset a slight dip in revenues, mainly due to lost sales from Vioxx, the blockbuster pain pill the drugmaker withdrew a year ago over safety problems.

Merck, which also makes Zocor for high cholesterol and osteoporosis treatment Fosamax, reported net income of $1.42 billion, or 65 cents per share, the the July-September period. That beat by 3 cents a share the consensus forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

In the same period of 2004, Merck posted net income of $1.33 billion, or 60 cents per share.

Revenues totaled $5.42 billion, down 2 percent from $5.54 billion in 2004's third quarter.

For the first nine months of 2005, net income was $3.51 billion, or $1.59 per share. That was down 25 percent from $4.71 billion, or $2.11 per share, in the first three quarters of 2004. Nine-month revenue fell to $16.25 billion from $17.19 billion a year ago.

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