Merck experiences heart failure

Major drug companies are declining more than the general market today, but none like Merck & Co. (MRK). Merck's shares dropped 2.5 percent on news it won't seek approval this year for its heart-failure drug rolofylline after preliminary results of a Phase III study failed to meet goals.

"Advances to help patients with acute heart failure, a disease that is the leading cause of hospitalization for patients over age 65 and that is associated with a high rate of mortality, have long been elusive," said Dan Bloomfield, M.D., executive director, cardiovascular research, Merck Research Laboratories. Merck had hoped rolofylline would provide "a useful new approach for these patients."