Morningstar Rating

Stock Research and Analysis

by Damien Conover, CFA

Bulls Say

Merck is backing away from its patent cliff with a strong lineup of new products, including Bridion (anesthesia) and PD-1 drug pembrolizumab (cancer).
Restructuring efforts are reducing costs and mitigating the margin erosion from the patent expirations of high-margin products.
The acquisition of Schering enables Merck to potentially achieve close to $5 billion in annual cost-saving synergies by 2015. Read more 

Bears Say

Merck's historical focus in primary-care diseases has yielded a late-stage pipeline that has lower odds of success as compared with specialty-care areas.
While the majority of the patent losses are behind the company, several major products lose exclusivity over the next five years, including Zetia and Nasonex.
Merck will probably be second to market with its PD-1 drug pembrolizumab in the most important indication of lung cancer, which may dilute the drug's market potential. Read more 

Management

At the beginning of 2011, Ken Frazier took over the helm of Merck as CEO from Dick Clark and was also appointed as a chairman of the board in late 2011. With Clark nearing the age of retirement, we view the new leadership as a continuation of Merck's   Read more 

Profile

Merck makes pharmaceutical products to treat conditions in a number of therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular disease, asthma, cancer, infections, and osteoporosis.  Read more 

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