HEALTH CARE

Marion Merrell, Lilly See Lower Earnings: Marion Merrell Dow Inc. said its per-share earnings in the first quarter will undershoot by as much as 70% Wall Street analyst's estimates of 62 cents. The Kansas City firm, which reported earnings of 60 cents a share a year earlier, attributed the decline to sharply lower sales of the Seldane family of anti-allergy medications, the Nicoderm quit-smoking patch and Cardizem heart and blood medication. Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly & Co. said its first-quarter profit may fall nearly 20% to between $1.20 and $1.30 a share from $1.51 a year earlier. The company cited a mild flu season and other factors for the lower earnings.

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