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Novartis AG (NVS) Delays Restarting Nebraska Factory


10/25/2012 7:44:19 AM

Novartis | Jobs at Novartis Pharmaceuticals

Novartis AG (NOVN) backed off a prediction that a U.S. factory will resume making products such as the athlete’s foot gel Lamisil this year after shutting the facility in January because of manufacturing flaws. Consumer-health sales plunged 22 percent in the third quarter, a fourth straight drop, because of lost revenue from the Lincoln, Nebraska, site, the Basel, Switzerland-based company said today. Novartis, Europe’s biggest drugmaker by sales, has new woes as well -- Italy and Switzerland yesterday halted sales of the company’s flu vaccines because unwanted clumps of protein were found in some doses. The setbacks are overshadowing the company’s success in introducing new patented pharmaceuticals and raising profit margins. Novartis’s Sandoz generic-drug unit also received a warning letter from U.S. regulators last year over manufacturing missteps at three North American plants. “That brings the number of divisions with manufacturing quality issues to three out of five,” Alexandra Hauber, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co., wrote in a report today. “The strong profitability trends are overshadowed by manufacturing issues.” She has a neutral rating on the stock.

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