Swiss drug maker Novartis says Q3 net income drops following sale of shares to Merck last year

GENEVA – Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis says net income fell 42 per cent in the third quarter, largely due to the sale of its hepatitis drug unit a year earlier and provisions for legal settlements and fees.

The company says the integration of businesses from a multibillion-dollar product exchange with rival GlaxoSmithKline earlier this year is on track.

Net income fell to $1.81 billion from $3.1 billion a year earlier, when it earned money on the sale of shares of Idenix Pharmaceuticals to Merck.

Net sales rose 6 per cent to $12.3 billion when discounting currency fluctuations.

Net sales in its pharmaceuticals unit rose 7 per cent by that measure, but generic competition for its Diovan monotherapy and Exforge high blood pressure treatments and Exelon Patch, an Alzheimer’s treatment, had a negative impact.