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Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Presents at Cowen 41st Annual Health Care Conference (Transcript)

Mar. 03, 2021 3:44 PM ETMerck & Co., Inc. (MRK)
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Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) Cowen 41st Annual Health Care Conference March 3, 2021 1:20 PM ET

Company Participants

Frank Clyburn - Chief Commercial Officer & Executive VP

Peter Dannenbaum - Head, Investor Relations

Conference Call Participants

Steve Scala - Cowen & Co

Steve Scala

Good afternoon, and welcome to the Merck session of Cowen's 41st Annual Health Care Conference. We're very pleased to have Merck back with us again this year. Representing the company is Frank Clyburn, who is Chief Commercial Officer; as well as Peter Dannenbaum, who is the Global Head of Investor Relations. So we appreciate you both being here with us today.

Question-and-Answer Session

Q - Steve Scala

Merck had a solid year in 2020. Frank, as you peer into 2021, what do you see as the pushes and pulls to the year? What do you think will maybe go better than expected? What do you think could be a little bit more challenging?

Frank Clyburn

Sure, Steve. So thanks for having us, and it's great to be here this afternoon. As we look into 2021, we first remain, Steve, very confident in our growth pillars because they remain intact. And we highlighted guidance that was 10% top-line growth at the midpoint of 21 in our guidance range, which we think demonstrates really strong underlying demand for our key products, KEYTRUDA, GARDASIL, BRIDION and Animal Health. We do expect, Steve, to your question, to some of the headwinds to have a negative impact to the business in '21 from the COVID pandemic but to a lesser degree than what we saw in 2020.

Specifically, we highlighted a 2% negative impact on '21 revenues, and we expect that to be more pronounced in the first half of ‘21 primarily on our vaccine business, particularly in the U.S., as you can see and recall, obviously, as we

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