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Analyst Downgrades Merck on Concerns Over Two Drugs

Mon, 02/04/2013 - 12:29pm
The Associated Press

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. (AP) — Shares of drugmaker Merck & Co. declined after an analyst downgraded them from "Buy" to "Sell."

Morgan Stanley & Co. analyst David Risinger, in a note to investors, cites concerns that upcoming study results could hurt sales of a blockbuster cholesterol medicine, plus an unexpected delay on a crucial experimental drug.

Results expected soon from an effectiveness study of Merck's combination cholesterol drug Vytorin, if not positive, could further cut into sales.

Merck, based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., said Friday it won't apply for approval of its odanacatib (oh-DAN'-eh-cat-ib), a new type of osteoporosis drug, until 2014 instead of early this year. Management says it wants to wait until it has some additional study data.

In midday trading, Merck shares fell 86 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $40.97.

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