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Novartis chooses internal replacement for US pharma president role

Victor Bulto to lead US pharma business

Victor Bulto

Novartis has announced that Fabrice Chouraqui will be replaced by Victor Bulto (pictured above) as the company’s new president of its US pharmaceuticals business.

Novartis did not say why Chouraqui would be stepping down, but his replacement comes from within the pharma company. Bulto is currently the head of Novartis’ US immunology, hepatology and dermatology franchise and has been an exec at the Swiss pharma company for 14 years.

His role was key to the success of Novartis’ psoriasis drug Cosentyx, which grew 25% to $858m in the second quarter of 2019. The drug is already well on its way to becoming to becoming a billion dollar-plus treatment.

Having already proven his in-house capabilities, Bulto will be reporting to Marie France Tschudin who is the global president of pharmaceuticals at Novartis. Tschudin is also a new addition to the top leadership at Novartis, having been appointed to her current role in June 2019. She joined the company from Advanced Accelerator Applications after it was acquired by Novartis and has also served as the head of pharmaceuticals for Europe at the company.

The continuing shake-up of the top leadership at Novartis comes at a fraught time for the pharma giant, as it faces increasing backlash following the Zolgensma data manipulation scandal.

Zolgensma

Novartis have been accused of manipulated Zolgensma data

Earlier this month, the FDA issued a statement that AveXis, a Novartis company, had been aware of manipulation of early stage animal trials of the spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) gene therapy, but did not disclose its findings until after it received marketing approval.

According to the FDA, the data issue only affected a small amount of the product testing data within the marketing application for the drug.

However, the response to Novartis’ handling of the data manipulation has faced harsh criticism from notable figures, including US cost-effectiveness watchdog ICER and a group of prominent US senators.

In a letter to FDA acting commissioner Ned Sharpless, the senators, including potential presidential hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, called the handling of Zolgensma data “unconscionable” and commented that the “scandal smacks of the pharmaceutical industry’s privilege and greed”.

With such a scandal to deal with, Bulto will no doubt have his hands full as he steps into his new role at Novartis.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

14th August 2019

From: Marketing

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