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Sales drop hurts Merck's earnings

Merck & Co. Inc. said on Tuesday its quarterly profit fell sharply on a decline in sales of some medicines due to a new company program that prevents U.S. wholesalers from overstocking its products.
/ Source: Reuters

Merck & Co. Inc. said on Tuesday its quarterly profit fell sharply on a decline in sales of some medicines due to a new company program that prevents U.S. wholesalers from overstocking its products.

The Whitehouse Station, New Jersey-based company said it earned $1.4 billion, or 62 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, compared with $1.9 billion, or 83 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts on average had expected quarterly earnings of 62 cents per share, according to a poll by Reuters Research, a unit of Reuters Group Plc.