Merck & Co. has reported a 29% decline in third-quarter earnings, hurt by costs associated with its withdrawal of the Vioxx arthritis drug.
The Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based company earned $1.3 billion, or 60 cents a share, in the third quarter, after a 25-cent-per-share impact from the recall, even though Merck didn't announce it until the last day of the quarter. That compares with $1.9 billion, or 82 cents a share, a year earlier.
Total sales fell 3.9%, to $5.5 billion, factoring in $491.6 million in inventory writedowns and other costs related to the recall. For the fourth quarter, Merck estimates, lost Vioxx sales and other costs will total up to $750 million.