Merck & Co.’s third-quarter profit plunged 35 percent because of competition from generic drugs, lower sales of its top-selling medicine, and restructuring and acquisition charges.
It beat Wall Street’s profit expectations, but lowered its own forecast for the full year. Generic competition continues to hammer asthma and allergy pill Singulair, cutting sales 53 percent to $280 million. The drug brought in $5.5 billion a year until its patent expired in August 2012 and cheaper versions flooded the market. The world’s third-biggest drugmaker by revenue previously has weathered generic competition to its blockbusters. “This year, we were not able to do that,” CEO Kenneth Frazier said Monday.