MRK: Vaccines versus Vioxx

Although for some time now many thought Merck was an easy short, given Vioxx and the large number of law suits and settlements before it, the company had a strategy in place to rise again. And, rise again it did. It fooled everyone as its stocks withstood the shocks and has been coming back ever since. Today, one has to have a head in the sand not to see the possibilities of this company – in spite of the suits still before it – AND its new directions, guaranteed to bring in big bucks for its shareholders.

Although for some time now many thought Merck was an easy short, given Vioxx and the large number of law suits and settlements before it, the company had a strategy in place to rise again.  And, rise again it did.  It fooled everyone as its stocks withstood the shocks and has been coming back ever since.  Today, one has to have a head in the sand not to see the possibilities of this company – in spite of the suits still before it – AND its new directions, guaranteed to bring in big bucks for its shareholders. 

 

One of these new directions, which is unfolding without a lot of fanfare, is Merck’s leadership among pharmaceuticals in the development of vaccines.  Vaccines have been out of vogue for a half century, when polio, the flu, measles, mumps, rubella and the like were all developed.  Now, some 50 years later, the field is reemerging as a new and major opportunity here and abroad in such areas as cancers, staph infections, diarrhea, and malaria.  The fear of bioterrorism not only further fuels attention to vaccines today, it brings new monies and new opportunities.  And, Merck is clearly in the leadership in developing and bringing to market new vaccines.  Its most major success to date is its new breakthrough vaccine for cervical cancer.  Many others are in the pipeline.

 

In 2007, Merck made as much from vaccines in the first six months as it did in all of 2006, with revenues from vaccines for the six months of almost $2 billion.  It will do as well if not better the next six months, and the sky is the limit in the years ahead.  Anyone counting Merck out needs to think again.  The company is moving forward, big time.

Daniel Socolow
Daniel Socolow: President, Socolow Group. Former Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program, President of the American University of Paris, Vice President of Spelman College. BA, MA, Ph.D.

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Comments

  • Hollyoke

    August 27, 2007

    Despite what some of my friends said, I kept my Merck though the Vioxx problems and have been rewarded. I even added to my position at around 35, I think. The company pays a nice dividend and there is simply too much money in this field to count these stocks down. I picked up my original position in 1992 when Hillary was going to nationalize healthcare and all pharmas went down. The bottom line: buy when these guys are down. Nothing is going to change the fact that people will pay for their health.

  • Nony Mouse

    September 03, 2007

    So the fact that many of these companies have little or nothing in the pipelines to replace lucrative drugs challenged by generics doesn't scare you?

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