Merck Tumbles on Drug Worries

prescription drugsShares of Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) slid almost 3% in Friday morning trading after the company said it will postpone efforts to get Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approval for a drug developed to combat osteoporosis.

Company officials said they would submit odanacatib for regulatory review in 2014. The drug has completed a major late-stage trial, but Merck will wait for data from a extension study of patients in the original trial before it seeks FDA approval to market the medication, Reuters noted.

Merck also announced fourth-quarter earnings of $1.4 billion. Adjusted EPS came in at 83 cents, topping the 81 cents Wall Street had expected. Sales fell 5% compared to last year, dropping to $11.74 billion for the quarter. However, that exceeded the $11.48 billion forecast by analysts.

Looking forward, Merck estimated 2013 adjusted earnings of between $3.60 and $3.70 a share, less than the $3.82 a share it realized in 2012. Wall Street is looking for a 2013 profit of $3.68 a share.

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