REUTERS: Merck & Co Inc posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday and raised its full-year earnings forecast, driven by resilient demand for its blockbuster cancer therapy Keytruda during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The drugmaker's revenue took a hit at the height of the pandemic as patients avoided hospital visits, denting sales of vaccines, physician-administered drugs and animal health products.
The company said it had taken the majority of the blow in the second quarter.
Merck said it now expects full-year adjusted profit of between US$5.91 and US$6.01 per share, compared with its prior forecast of between US$5.63 to US$5.78 per share.
For 2020, Merck now expects an unfavorable impact to revenue of about US$2.35 billion due to the pandemic, up from US$1.95 billion it had initially estimated.
Excluding items, Merck earned US$1.74 per share, beating analysts' average estimates of US$1.44 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
(Reporting Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)