The drugmaker Merck & Co. on Tuesday said its third-quarter profit more than doubled, as heavy cost-cutting from its ongoing restructuring more than offset lower sales and the impact of unfavorable currency exchange rates.

The drugmaker Merck & Co. on Tuesday said its third-quarter profit more than doubled, as heavy cost-cutting from its ongoing restructuring more than offset lower sales and the impact of unfavorable currency exchange rates.

The maker of diabetes pill Januvia beat Wall Street's profit expectations and edged up its 2015 profit forecast for the year, despite lower sales for its vaccines and key drugs for treating high cholesterol, HIV and immune disorders and the sale of its consumer health business. Merck noted that it's already exceeded its goal of reducing annual spending by $2.5 billion, compared to its 2012 level.

Merck, the world's fifth-biggest drugmaker by revenue, said its third-quarter net income totaled $1.83 billion, or 64 cents per share, up from $895 million, or 31 cents per share, in 2014's third quarter.

Excluding acquisition, divestiture and restructuring costs and other one-time items totaling $894 million after taxes, adjusted net income was $2.72 billion, or 96 cents per share. That topped the average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research, who expected 91 cents per share.

The Kenilworth, New Jersey-based company said revenue was $10.07 billion in the quarter, which missed analysts' forecast for $10.09 billion. Merck noted that revenue was reduced by 7 percent due to the strong dollar, which lowers the value of overseas sales made in local currencies.

Sales of prescription drugs dipped 2 percent in the quarter, to $8.93 billion.

Merck's most important new drug, Keytruda, part of the hot new class of drugs that fight cancer by harnessing the immune system, posted sales of $160 million.

Merck is behind rival Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in the race for supremacy in sales of these targeted cancer drugs, but noted that Keytruda won Food and Drug Administration approval during the quarter for treating advanced melanoma in patients whose tumors produce a protein called PD-L1. Keytruda also is approved for treating lung cancer, it's awaiting approval for other uses and Merck is testing it against 10 different tumor types.

Januvia and combination pill Janumet, among the most popular pills for Type 2 diabetes, posted a 10 percent increase in combined sales at $1.58 billion. Merck noted its new diabetes drug, omarigliptin, was approved in Japan recently, and the company will apply by year's end for FDA approval.

Meanwhile, Merck could get U.S. approval in late January for a daily combination pill for hepatitis C, a drug called elbasvir/grazoprevir. It may be a contender in the multibillion-dollar market for very expensive pills that cure the liver-destroying virus within a few months for most patients, unlike the prior generation of year-long, side effect laden treatments that barely cured half of patients.

Gardasil, a vaccine against cancer-causing human papilloma virus, saw sales rise 6 percent to $625 million. Sales declined for most other medicines, mainly due to name-brand or generic competitors.

Sales of veterinary medicines declined 7 percent to $825 million. Merck its consumer health business to Bayer AG last year; it brought in $401 million in 2014's third quarter.

Merck raised its full-year profit forecast to a range of $3.55 to $3.60 per share, up from its July forecast of $3.45 to $3.55, excluding one-time items. The company expects 2015 revenue to total $39.2 billion to $39.8 billion.

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Follow Linda A. Johnson @LindaJ_onPharma.