Merck & Co’s earnings for the third quarter have been hit by costs relating to the acquisition of Schering-Plough, plus restructuring and legal charges relating to Vioxx, but S-P's drugs helped push sales up 84%.

Net income came in at $342.4 million, a decline of 90%, while revenues reached $11.13 billion. Merck’s best-selling treatment was once again the asthma/allergic rhinitis drug Singulair (montelukast), up 12% to $1.22 billion, though revenues from the antihypertensives Cozaar (losartan) and Hyzaar (losartan plus hydrochlorothiazide) slumped 61% to $423 million, due to losing marketing exclusivity in the USA and the major European markets.

Sales of the cholesterol drugs Vytorin (ezetimibe plus simvastatin) and Zetia (ezetimibe) reached $485 million and $571 million, down 8% and up 1% respectively. The diabetes drug Januvia (sitagliptin) performed well, generating $600 million in the quarter, up 22%, while Janumet (sitagliptin plus metformin) brought in $247 million, a leap of 43%. Turnover from the HIV drug Isentress (raltegravir) reached $278 million, up 41%, while sales of the cervical cancer jab Gardasil inched up 2% to $316 million.

As for S-P’s products, the anti-inflammatory Remicade (infliximab), the Johnson & Johnson drug which Merck sells outside the USA, contributed $661 million, up 9%, while the anti-allergy medication Nasonex/Asmanex (mometasone) brought in $259 million, a decrease of 3%.

Sales of the brain cancer drug Temodar (temozolomide) reached $254 million (-9%), and the hepatitis C treatment PegIntron (pegylated interferon) fell 15% to $168 million. Fertility treatment Follistim/Puregon (follitropin beta) and the contraceptive Nuvaring had sales of $119 and $134 million, respectively, down 2% and up 2%.

For the full-year, Merck raised the lower end of its earning guidance to $3.31-$3.39 per share, compared with an earlier forecast of $3.29-$3.39. Revenues are expected to come in at $45.4-$46.1 billion, though the forecasts assume the company will retains rights to Remicade and the newer arthritis treatment Simponi (golimumab), which are at the centre of a dispute with J&J.

Chief executive Richard Clark said the quarter was a good one, with key drugs performing well. "At the same time we are launching new products, advancing our robust R&D pipeline and achieving our important merger synergies," he concluded.