Last updated: October 22. 2013 4:36AM - 232 Views
Associated Press

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(AP) Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG raised its full-year sales outlook because of delays in generic competition to its blockbuster blood pressure drug Diovan even though it said negative currency trends contributed to a 6 percent drop in its third-quarter net profit.

The Basel, Switzerland-based company said Tuesday that it made a net profit of $2.26 billion in the July-September quarter, down from last year's equivalent of $2.42 billion, which was downwardly adjusted to conform to new reporting requirements.

Novartis said a weaker yen and falls in emerging market currencies, along with expiring patents and royalty payments, affected its financial performance. Even so, third-quarter sales rose 4 percent to $14.3 billion.

"Novartis delivered strong sales performance in the third quarter, with all divisions contributing to growth," Chief Executive Joseph Jimenez said in the statement.

The company noted that its patent rights on Diovan expired in the United States last year, but U.S. regulators have yet to approve the generic version from competitor Ranbaxy Laboratories.

Because of that delay and what it called "strong growth products momentum," Novartis said it now expects group sales in 2013 to rise in the low- to mid-single digit range if currencies stay unchanged.

The company said it expects generic competition to cut into its sales by $2.3 billion in 2013, which is more than $1 billion less than the level it expected at the start of the year, "mostly due to the continued absence of generic competition for Diovan monotherapy in the U.S."

Associated Press
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