Lincoln Plant Problems Continue to Dog Novartis AG

Though some limited production has resumed at the Novartis plant east of Lincoln, the ongoing problems there continue to drag down earnings for the company's consumer health division. Julie Masow, a Novartis spokeswoman, said Tuesday the plant east of Lincoln has resumed limited production of "select Animal Health and OTC (over-the-counter) products." She declined to disclose specific brand names. Novartis said Wednesday in releasing its 2012 fourth-quarter and full-year financial results that it has engaged third-party manufacturers to produce Excedrin Migraine, Triaminic and Lamisil AT products. The company also said it will be shipping Excedrin Extra Strength products to some customers this month. Despite getting some of its over-the-counter production restarted, the ongoing issues at the Lincoln plant continue to weigh on Novartis's bottom line. The Lincoln plant shut down in December 2011. Inspections by the Food and Drug Administration highlighted numerous problems with cross-contamination of drugs and a lack of attention to the problems by management at the plant. The company said in its earnings news release that the consumer health division, which includes over-the-counter drugs and animal health products, had an 11 percent decline in sales in the fourth quarter compared with a year ago and a 19 percent drop in 2012 compared with 2011.

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