Merck swings to profit in Q3 after $56M loss last year: 5 notes

Pharma giant Merck saw a turnaround in the third quarter of 2018, reporting a profit of $1.95 billion. In the same quarter of last year, the drugmaker saw a $56 million loss due to one-time expenses.

Here are five things to know:

1. Merck attributed the profit to a big jump in U.S. medicine sales, particularly for its blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda. Keytruda boosts a patient's immune system to fight cancer.

2. The loss in the third quarter of 2017 was a result of several one-time expenses, including a cyberattack in June of that year that shut down production.

3. Overall, Merck reported $10.8 billion in global sales in the third quarter of 2018, up 5 percent from the same period one year prior.

4. During the earnings call, the company said it was initiating a $10 billion share buyback program.

5. "We built on our strong momentum during the quarter and believe that Merck is well-positioned to continue creating sustainable value for shareholders and patients," said Kenneth C. Frazier, Merck chairman and CEO.

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