Merck, Sharp and Dohme (MSD) has announced its financial results for the first quarter of the 2008 fiscal year.
The firm reported a one per cent increase in global sales on the same period last year, up to $5.8 billion (2.9 billion pounds).
Net income for the quarter was recorded as $3.3 billion, up from $1.7 billion in the same period in 2007.
Earnings per share on generally accepting accounting principles basis for the for the quarter rose from $0.78 to $1.52.
The company also announced a $2.2 billion pretax gain on distribution from AstraZeneca, while it made a $300 million contribution to the Merck Company Foundation.
Richard T Clark, chairman, president and chief executive officer of the firm, said: "Our reaffirmation of 2008 financial guidance shows that Merck has the right strategy in place to manage through difficult industry dynamics and unexpected challenges."
He added that the company saw solid results in the first quarter despite a drop in expected sales from its joint venture with Schering-Plough and the loss of patent protection for Fosamax (alendronate sodium).
Last month, Dr Elizabeth Stoner left Merck Research Laboratories to join a venture capital investment firm.See all the latest jobs in Pharmaceutical