Novartis AG (NVS) Quarterly Profit Drops as Diovan, OTC Sales Slump  
4/24/2012 7:12:05 AM

Novartis AG’s (NOVN) first-quarter profit dropped 8 percent on generic competition and manufacturing glitches at a consumer-health products factory in Nebraska. Net income excluding some costs fell to $3.09 billion, or $1.27 a share, from $3.4 billion, or $1.41 a share, a year earlier, the Basel, Switzerland-based company said in a statement today. Analysts predicted profit of $1.28 a share, the average of 10 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Chief Executive Officer Joe Jimenez is facing the loss of billions in revenue as the company’s top-selling drug, Diovan, loses patent protection this year. The company, Europe’s biggest drugmaker, bought the Alcon eye-care business and has introduced new medicines such as Gilenya, the first pill for multiple sclerosis, to offset the losses.