Merck, Amgen, BMS post profits, with caveats

In the latest round of earnings releases, three drugmakers reported positive numbers. But only Germany's Merck posted the kind of drug sales that make analysts' eyes pop. That drug unit's results were "one massive positive surprise," Sanford C. Bernstein's Jack Scannell tells Bloomberg. Too bad its crystals division didn't follow suit, but that's another story entirely. Here's the rundown on all three.

  • Amgen reported better-than-expected earnings, but worrisome numbers for its launch of the bone drug Prolia. Sales of the med amounted to $10 million, only about a third of what analysts had expected, Reuters reports. The company blamed the disappointing sales on reimbursement issues, but analysts weren't buying. Amgen release | Report

  • Merck KGaA's Q3 profits grew by 46 percent as it folded in sales from the newly acquired Millipore. Net income rose to $294.4 million. Despite a big slowdown in its LCD sales, the company increased its profits-growth forecast to 58 percent from 55 percent, partly due to the 26 percent profit growth it now expects for the Serono drug division, up from the 12 percent previously forecast. Merck KGaA release | Story | News

  • Bristol-Myers Squibb's results were mixed: Profits came in slightly below the results during the same quarter last year, but beat analyst expectations, while its $4.8 billion in sales were flat year-over-year, falling short of estimates. Plavix sales grew by 6.7 percent, while Abilify sales dropped by about the same percentage, thanks to the terms of its partnership with Otsuka. Going forward, the company is relying on cuts to shave 3 percent from its costs. BMS release | Article | Report