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Schering Profit Falls, but Tops Wall Street Estimates

Schering-Plough, whose shares have been battered this year by a failed trial of its Vytorin cholesterol drug, reported a smaller-than-expected drop in quarterly earnings on Wednesday thanks to cost controls.

The drugmaker said first-quarter net income available to holders of its common stock was $253 million, or 15 cents per share, down from $543 million, or 36 cents per share, a year earlier.

Seamus Fernandez, an analyst at Leerink Swann, said earnings excluding special items were 16 cents per share above his forecast.

"Sales, general and administrative expenses and research and development costs together were $190 million below our forecasts," he said, and accounted for most of the earnings beat, along with strong international performance.

Excluding charges related to its $14.65 billion purchase in November of Organon BioSciences and other special items, Schering-Plough said it earned 53 cents per share.

Excluding certain items and including costs for the Organon acquisition, analysts had expected 37 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Reuters Estimates initially calculated that the company earned 51 cents per share on a comparable basis, still well above forecasts.

Quarterly sales, bolstered by products acquired in the Organon deal, jumped 56 percent to $4.66 billion, above the Reuters Estimates forecast of $4.51 billion.

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