Sales for the quarter were $12.31 billion, edging up 1% from 2011. Adjusted EPS came in at $1.05. The results beat Wall Street, which had been looking for EPS of $1.01 on sales of $12.15 billion, CNBC noted.
The news sent Merck shares up more than 3% in early Friday morning trading.
The drugmaker reiterated previously issued earnings guidelines for the rest of the year, predicting profits of between $3.75 and $3.85 a share. In 2011, Merck generated full year earnings of $3.77 a share.
The patent for its asthma treatment Singulair — which recorded second-quarter sales of $1.43 billion — expires in August, opening the Merck to generic competition against its best-selling medication.
Company officials noted that a rising U.S. dollar was eroding international sales revenue. Subtracting the dollar’s recent rise, sales would have increased 5%.
In the last week, pharmaceutical makers Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) and AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) both reported lower second-quarter earnings compared to last year that still topped analysts estimates.