Merck & Co., Whitehouse Station, N.J., said it lost $491.6 million in revenue, resulting in a 25 cents per share drop in earnings, from pulling its blockbuster drug Vioxx off the market after data indicated the arthritis drug increased the risk of heart attack and stroke. "The voluntary withdrawal of Vioxx, with sales of $2.5 billion last year, represents a significant financial loss for us but clearly was the right course of action," Raymond Gilmartin, Merck's chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. After accounting for lost revenue from the recall, inventory write-offs and estimated customer returns of Vioxx, Merck earned net income of $1.3 billion, or 60 cents per share, on revenue of $5.5 billion for the third quarter ended Sept. 30. In the year-ago quarter, it earned $1.9 billion, or 83 cents per share, on revenue of $5.8 billion. In the first nine months of 2004, Merck earned $4.7 billion, or $2.11 per share, on revenue of $17.2 billion, down from $5.4 billion, or $2.30 per share, on revenue of $16.9 billion in the year-ago period. -- by Cinda Becker
Vioxx recall costs Merck $492 million in revenue
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