Higher prices for MS drug help drug firm Merck

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 | Finance News

FRANKFURT, German (AP) — Higher prices for its multiple sclerosis treatment helped German pharmaceutical company Merck KGaA post a 54 percent rise in first-quarter net profit.

Merck also saw stronger sales of materials for liquid-crystal displays and raised its profit forecast, saying it would achieve its 2014 goals this year.

Its optimism came after it reported net profit of 266 million euros ($345 million) in the first three months of the year, up from 172.7 euros a year earlier. Total revenues rose 4.4 percent to 2.76 billion.

The company said Tuesday that its multiple sclerosis treatment, Rebif, saw sales rise 6 percent to 454 million euros due to price increases in the U.S. and higher sales in Europe.

Merck, based in Darmstadt, Germany, is a different company from U.S.-based Merck & Co., Inc.