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Merck posts earnings beat, revenue miss

Merck KGaA is a German company in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry based in Darmstadt
Spiegl | ullstein bild | Getty Images
Merck KGaA is a German company in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry based in Darmstadt

Merck on Wednesday reported a 2.5 percent fall in quarterly revenue, hurt by a strong dollar and declining sales of its Remicade arthritis treatment.

Merck's stock price dropped more then 2 percent in premarket trading after the release of the earnings report. (Click here for the latest price.)

Net income fell to $981 million, or 35 cents per share, for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 from $7.32 billion, or $2.54 per share, from a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned 93 cents per share. Revenue fell to $10.22 billion from $10.48 billion.

Analysts had expected Merck to report adjusted earnings of about 91 cents a share on $10.35 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

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Last week, the Food and Drug Administration approved Merck's hepatitis C medication, Zepatier, expanding the number of advanced treatment options available to patients. According to The Associated Press, the number of hepatitis C therapies on the market will not only pressure companies to limit the prices of their drugs but also increase the chances of each patient finding a treatment that works for them.

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Separately, Reuters reported last week that the Gavi global alliance for vaccines and immunization group signed a $5 million deal with Merck as an advanced purchase of the pharmaceutical company's Ebola vaccine in development.

— Associated Press, Reuters, and CNBC's Christine Wang contributed to this report.