PROFIT PLUNGE: Big charges, including $950 million for a federal probe of Vioxx marketing and $2 billion before taxes related to buying Schering-Plough Corp., pulled quarterly profit down 90 percent.
EARNINGS BEAT: Merck still beat Wall Street's earnings-per-share forecast, helped by lower-than-expected taxes and expenses. But revenue was below the mark.
SALES ISSUES: Prescription drug revenue was down, with European price cuts helping push down sales of two-thirds of the drugs. And longtime blockbuster blood pressure drugs Cozaar and Hyzaar saw sales halved by generic competition.