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Drug discontinuation costs Novartis $590m

Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis has announced it will take a charge of $590 million (SFr573 million) in the third quarter as it discontinued two drugs.

But it added that the charge would be partially offset by a $390 million gain to be booked in the fourth quarter from its divestment of overactive bladder treatment Enablex to Warner Chilcott.

Novartis said in a statement it was stopping Mycograb, an antifungal agent, resulting in a charge of about $360 million.

The Basel-based firm also said it and Human Genome Sciences had decided to stop development of albinterferon alfa-2b for the treatment of adults with chronic hepatitis C, resulting in a write-down of some $230 million.

The reason cited was feedback from regulators in Europe and the United States, as well as new study data,

Albinterferon alfa-2b is known by its brand name Joulferon in Europe and Zalbin in the US.

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