By Matt Grossman


Merck & Co. Inc. on Friday reported a larger profit in the second quarter despite declining revenue, as the company progressed on work towards treatments and vaccines for Covid-19.

The Kenilworth, N.J.-based pharmaceutical company said that the pandemic dragged on revenue in the latest quarter as it reduced people's non-Covid-19 health-care visits, putting pressure on prescriptions. Selling, general and administrative costs, as well as research and development expenses, were both lower in the quarter for Merck, due in part to declines in marketing, travel and meeting expenses.

Merck reported a second-quarter profit of $3 billion, or $1.18 a share, compared with a profit of $2.67 billion, or $1.03 a share, in the same three-month period a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, Merck's profit was $1.37 a share. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected second-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.06 a share.

Merck's revenue in the quarter was $10.87 billion, down from $11.76 billion a year earlier. Analysts had forecast revenue of $10.4 billion.

Through partnerships with other companies and research institutions, Merck is developing two vaccines to prevent Covid-19--both of which are in pre-clinical development--as well as an oral antiviral medication for the disease, which is in Phase 2 clinical trials.


Write to Matt Grossman at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 31, 2020 07:35 ET (11:35 GMT)

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