Keytruda sales surge 45%, leading growth in Merck & Co.'s fourth-quarter revenue

Headline results for the fourth quarter:

Pharmaceutical product sales

$10.5 billion


Overall revenue

$11.9 billion (forecasts of $12 billion)



$2.4 billion


Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated

What the company said:

"As evidenced by our results and our 2020 guidance, Merck had an extraordinary year and is in a position of operational and financial strength," commented CEO Kenneth Frazier. "It is this position of strength, born of our focused execution, that gives us the confidence to spin-off our women's health, trusted legacy brands and biosimilar products into a new company," the executive added.

Other results:

  • Keytruda: $3.1 billion, up 45%, reflecting "strong" momentum in non-small-cell lung cancer indications, but missing forecasts of $3.3 billion
  • Gardasil/Gardasil 9: $693 million, down 17%, mainly as a result of borrowing of doses of Gardasil 9 from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's paediatric vaccine stockpile
  • Proquad/M-M-R II/Varivax: $481 million, up 6%
  • Januvia/Janumet: $1.4 billion, down 3%, due to continued pricing pressure in the US
  • Bridion: $313 million, up 22%, boosted by higher demand globally, particularly in the US
  • Isentress/Isentress HD: $223 million, down 20%
  • Simponi: $205 million, down 7%
  • Sales in China: $773 million, up 29%
  • Full-year revenue: $46.8 billion, up 11%
  • Full-year profit: $9.8 billion, up 58%

Looking ahead:

Merck & Co. expects sales this year of between $48.8 billion and $50.3 billion, with earnings per share in the range of $5.62 to $5.77. Analysts predict annual sales of $49.6 billion, on earnings of $5.64 per share.

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