Schering-Plough

(SGP)

reported fourth-quarter earnings Thursday of 39 cents a share, in line with the

First Call/Thomson Financial

consensus estimate of 24 analysts, and up from year-ago earnings of 34 cents a share.

The drug making company said profits rose 13% thanks to strong sales of its allergy drug Claritin and its Rebetron therapy for Hepatitis C. It also saw a nice boost in worldwide pharmaceutical sales, especially growth in the three largest therapeutic product categories: allergy/respiratory, anti-infective/anticancer and cardiovascular.

Schering-Plough is expected to lose market exclusivity in the U.S. for Claritin this year, but the company is awaiting marketing approval for closely related desloratadine, which it says is superior to Claritin.

Shares of Schering-Plough closed at $51.94 Wednesday on the

New York Stock Exchange

.