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The pharma giant had a banner year in 2019, climbing 29 slots on the Global 500. Revenue rose almost 11%, to $46.8 billion, while profits leaped 58%, to $9.8 billion. Blockbuster cancer drug Keytruda, as well as an expanded line of animal medicines, have helped power Merck’s growth—though its share price has not seen as much of a lift as some competitors'. In the race to find a vaccine for COVID-19, Merck has adopted a slow pace compared to others in the industry. Rather than tout the company’s progress, CEO Kenneth Frazier has instead criticized industry “hype” and has warned that the process for developing an effective vaccine could take years
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