Merck & Co.'s third-quarter profit plunged 35 percent because of competition from generic drugs, lower sales of its top-selling medicine, and restructuring and acquisition charges.
It still beat Wall Street's profit expectations, but sharply lowered its own forecast for the full year, sending shares down.
Generic competition continues to hammer asthma and allergy pill Singulair, cutting sales 53 percent to $280 million. The drug brought in $5.5 billion a year until its patent expired in August 2012 and cheap copycat versions flooded the market.
The world's third-biggest drugmaker by revenue previously has weathered generic competition to its blockbusters well, usually managing to keep total sales about the same level as before big patent expirations.
"This year, we were not able to do that," CEO Kenneth Frazier said Monday in an interview with The Associated Press.
Revenue in the quarter totaled $11.03 billion, down 4 percent and below analysts' expectations for $11.13 billion.
Original headline: Merck 3Q net income falls on charges, lower sales
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