Merck posted better than expected sales and profit. The company getting a boost from its diabetes drug Januvia, but strong dollar concerns linger. Shartia Brantley reports.
Blame it on the strong dollar. Dow components Merck and Pfizer say their sales are hurting due to currency issues. Merck also blamed increased competition for its 8-percent drop in revenue in the first quarter. However it posted profit that easily beat forecasts. The drop in pharmaceutical sales for its Hepatitis C products were offset by increased demand for its diabetes drug, Januvia, as well as its vaccines and animal health products. The hospital acute care unit posted gains driven by Merck's acquisition of Cubist Pharmaceuticals in late January. Merck Chairman & CEO Kenneth Frazier said: "Our strong performance this quarter demonstrates that our scientific and business strategies, together with our focused investments, are paying off." Merck raised its revenue guidance for 2015 to $39.8 billion. Shares are up 4 percent in the early trading. Pfizer also posted better than expected profit. Aided by demand for its vaccines and cancer drugs. But, it lowered its revenue forecast for 2015 citing continued adverse impact from a strong U.S. dollar. Pfizer shares are up slighly in premarket trading