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Merck’s spending big to support Gardasil, and the HPV vaccine keeps pumping along

Merck & Co.’s immuno-oncology superstar Keytruda has been dominating headlines and sales rankings for the pharma giant, but it has another growth engine making waves around the world, too. HPV vaccine Gardasil 9 has been pumping in recent years, and the trend continued in the second quarter. The shot posted 50% growth at constant exchange rates over last year’s second quarter to $886 million. And the company is gearing up to keep the shot’s growth coming. It’s true that Gardasil got a second-quarter boost from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccine purchases that happened during the first quarter of last year. But first-half sales—which Chief Commercial Officer Frank Clyburn called a more accurate comparison during Tuesday’s earnings call—came in 35% higher than in the same period last year. Not shabby at all.

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