June 27, 2012 / 11:41 AM / 6 years ago

REFILE-Merck to keep recording income from Astra drugs

June 27 (Reuters) - Merck & Co will keep recording sales and profits for two more years tied to AstraZeneca PLC’s widely used acid reflux drugs Nexium and Prilosec under an amended agreement between the two large drugmakers.

Merck previously assumed it would record contributions from the longstanding partnership only through September this year. Now, Astra will have the option of buying Merck’s interest in the partnership in 2014.

Merck said the continuation of the partnership is expected to add about $200 million to revenue and 3 cents to 5 cents in earnings per share in 2012, but does not change its full-year profit outlook.

Merck said the deal would help shore up its financial performance through the U.S. patent expiration later this year of its big-selling Singulair allergy and asthma drug.

The agreement with Merck dates back to a selling and distribution joint venture originally set up with Sweden’s Astra.

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