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Pharmaceuticals drive growth at Novartis

The Basel-based Novartis group reports a strong operational performance in the first half of 2009, driven by its pharmaceuticals division.

Novartis said net sales for the first six months were $20.3 billion (SFr21.87 billion), an increase of eight per cent in local currencies but a decline of two per cent in dollars over the comparable period last year.

Net income for the first half was down by 12 per cent at $4.02 billion.

Announcing its second-quarter results on Thursday, Novartis said its net profit from April to June fell ten per cent, hurt by the dollar’s strength against the euro.

It dropped to $2.04 billion from $2.25 billion a year earlier, in line with analysts’ expectations.

“I am pleased that our pharmaceuticals business continues to deliver double-digit underlying growth driven by the strong momentum of our recently launched products.

“Our pipeline continues to deliver a steady stream of innovative medicines.”

Novartis is aiming to produce and commercialise a vaccine against the A/H1N1 swine flu virus and expects clinical trials to begin in July.

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