Merck shows sales increase, profitability decrease for 2007
Pharmaceutical giant Merck saw growth in its sales revenues for the firm’s fiscal 2007 fourth quarter and year (end-Dec. 31, 2007), but reported steep losses for the final quarter and a downturn in net income for the year.

The company posted unaudited net sales for its 2007 fourth quarter of $6.243 billion, an increase of 3 percent over the $6.044 billion recorded for revenue in the fourth quarter of 2006. Worldwide sales were $24.197 billion for full-year 2007, an increase of 7 percent over the $22.636 billion recognized for full-year 2006. The Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based firm noted that foreign exchange provided a favorable effect to global sales performance of 2 percent for the year and 4 percent for the quarter.

Merck reported a net loss in the fourth quarter of $1.631 billion, a sharp downturn compared with the $474 million in net income for the same quarter of fiscal 2006.

The company stated that the losses for the period includes a fourth-quarter 2007 charge of $671 million in connection with the anticipated resolution of investigations of civil claims by federal and state authorities relating to certain past sales and marketing activities, including nominal pricing programs and samples. In addition, a previously disclosed $4.85 billion pretax charge was recorded in the fourth quarter related to the U.S. Vioxx Settlement Agreement and was reflected as a separate line item in the consolidated statement of income.

For the 2007 fiscal year, Merck showed net income of $3.275 billion, a decline from the $4.434 billion in net income stated for its 2006 fiscal year.