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Novartis slashes jobs in US

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis has announced it will cut 1,960 jobs in the United States as it restructures its general medicines business.

The company said in a statement on Friday that it was restructuring in anticipation of the expiration of the patent on its Diovan blood-pressure drug in September. It also expects lower sales of its more recent aliskiren-based hypertension products, known as Tekturna in the US and Rasilez elsewhere.

After a clinical trial was halted in December, patients with type-2 diabetes and kidney impairment were excluded as potential users of these drugs. The study revealed non-fatal complications for these groups.

The restructuring will cost Novartis $160 million this year, but should result in savings of $450 million as of 2013. The reassessment of the Tekturna/Rasilz sales should lead to an exceptional charge of $900 million, most of which will not be cash.

The layoffs will take place in the second quarter of 2012.

In October, Novartis announced said it would cut 2,000 positions, including 1,100 in Switzerland, in the next three to five years despite increased profits. A further 900 positions were to be eliminated in the United States.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR