"Vaccines should deliver solid growth over their 2000 performance."

Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2001 10:54:16 -0500

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Thursday February 15, 7:49 am Eastern Time

Press Release

Merck Releases Financial Guidance for 2001

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--February 15, 2001-- Merck & Co.,
Inc. is pleased to provide the following guidance for 2001:

-- Worldwide (WW) gross sales will be driven by Merck's five key

growth drivers. Sales forecasts for those products for 2001 are as

Product        Therapeutic Category           2001 Potential WW Sales Range
-------        --------------------           -----------------------------
VIOXX          Osteoarthritis and acute pain     $3.0 to $3.5 billion
ZOCOR          Cholesterol-modifying             $5.8 to $6.2 billion
FOSAMAX        Osteoporosis                      $1.5 to $1.7 billion
COZAAR/HYZAAR  Anti-hypertensive                 $1.8 to $2.0 billion
SINGULAIR      Asthma controller                 $1.0 to $1.2 billion

-- As expected, combined WW sales of VASOTEC, PEPCID and MEVACOR, all

of which have a 2000 or 2001 U.S. patent expiration, should

decline in total to approximately $1.8 to $2.0 billion.

-- Sales of other products, including PROSCAR, PROPECIA and MAXALT,

should continue to grow in 2001.

-- Vaccines should deliver solid growth over their 2000 performance.

-- Under an agreement with AstraZeneca (AZN), Merck receives supply

payments at predetermined rates on the U.S. sales of certain

products by AZN, most notably PRILOSEC, and once it is launched in

the U.S., NEXIUM. Because the U.S. product patent on PRILOSEC will

expire in 2001, Merck anticipates that the total supply payments

that the Company receives from AZN will decline in 2001.

-- Merck-Medco sales in 2001 are estimated to range from $25 to $26


-- Consistent with recent historical trends, total Company gross

margin is estimated to be approximately 4 percentage points lower

than the full year 2000 rate of 44.4%. The Company's gross margin

reflects the combined impact of the Company's human

pharmaceuticals business as well as Merck-Medco's lower margin

pharmacy benefits management business.

Merck is pleased to reconfirm the following 2001 guidance which was
initially released by the Company on Dec. 12, 2000 via a press release at
the Company's Annual Business Briefing:

-- Marketing and administrative expense for 2001 is estimated to grow

in the low double digits over the full year 2000 expense of $6.2


-- Research and development expense is estimated to be $2.8 billion,

a 19% growth rate over 2000 research and development expense.

-- The Company's 2001 tax rate is estimated to be approximately 30.0%

to 30.5%, which is consistent with the full year 2000 rate of


Additionally, Merck plans to continue its stock buyback program during
2001. As of Dec. 31, 2000, $7.5 billion remains under the February 2000 $10
billion stock buyback program.

In commenting on its outlook for 2001, the Company reiterates that it is
comfortable with the First Call range of earnings per share (EPS) analyst
estimates of $3.15 to $3.25. Additionally, the Company notes that, without
providing guidance for a specific earnings growth rate by quarter, it would
be fair to anticipate a reasonable EPS growth pattern throughout the four
quarters of 2001.

Merck plans to host a conference call today at 10 a.m. EST to discuss this
guidance in further detail. Investors are invited to listen to a live
Webcast of this conference call by visiting Merck's corporate website at

-0- This press release contains ``forward-looking statements'' as that term
is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The
forward-looking statements include statements regarding the Company's
expected growth rates, sales forecasts and other specified financial items.
No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed and actual results may
differ materially from those projected. Merck undertakes no obligation to
publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new
information, future events, or otherwise. Forward-looking statements in
this document should be evaluated together with the many uncertainties that
affect Merck's businesses, particularly those mentioned in the cautionary
statements in Item 1 of the Company's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31,
1999, and in the periodic reports on Form 10-Q and Form 8-K (if any) which
Merck incorporates by reference. Copies of these forms are available on
request to Merck's Office of Stockholder Services.
Contact:      Media Contact:
     Gregory Reaves
     Investor Contact:
     Laura Jordan

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