July 17 - Swiss drug maker Novartis raises its full year outlook as a generic competitor to its blockbuster blood pressure pill Diovan is delayed. Hayley Platt reports.
Swiss drug maker Novartis has raised its full-year outlook for 2013 . It's in response to delays to a generic competitor for its blockbuster blood pressure pill Diovan. A copycat version of the drug has so far failed to be approved by U.S. regulators. The delay has bought Novartis time after losing its U.S. patent protection on Diovan last year. But it's only short term. Next year is when the impact will hit. Underlying sales and operating income rose 8 and 18 percent respectively. Sales of new drugs did well. Its multiple sclerosis pill Gilenya shot up 65 percent despite competition. And revenues from cancer drug Afinitor jumped 76 percent, together contributing to a third of group net sales. But although Novartis expects full-year sales to grow, it estimates a slower rate in the low single-digits. Rival drugmaker GlaxoSmith Kline is currently under investigation for allegations of bribery in China - so far Novartis says it hasn't been contacted by the Chinese authorities.