Drug sale fall hurts Merck

Merck & Co reported lower than expected third quarter revenue, hurt by sharply lower sales of its Gardasil vaccine against cervical cancer, but cost cuts enabled the company to beat earnings forecasts.

The number two US drugmaker said it earned $895m (£555.7m), or 31 cents per share, in the third quarter.

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That compared with $1.12bn, or 38 cents per share, in the year-earlier period.

Company sales fell 4 per cent to $10.56bn, below Wall Street expectations of $10.67bn.

Gardasil sales fell 11 per cent to $590m due to lower purchases by US government programmes.