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Novartis stumbles in Q2 as COVID-19 impacts sales

Net profit drops by 4% as pandemic hits sales


Swiss pharma company Novartis has reported a drop in its quarterly sales and profit as the COVID-19 pandemic impacts its 2020 outlook.

In the second quarter of the year, Novartis said that its net profit fell by 4% to $1.87bn, compared to the same period last year. Core operating income rose by 6% to $3.7bn, due to lower spending and an improved gross margin, according to the company.

Net sales in the quarter from continuing operations declined by 1% to $11.3bn from $11.7bn in the second quarter last year. The company reported that net income was down 11% to $1.9bn compared with last year’s second quarter results.

Novartis has now adjusted its 2020 sales outlook, saying that it expects sales to grow in the mid-single-digit range, whereas it had previously forecasted a mid- to high-single-digit increase. It added that this guidance assumes that ‘we see a continuation of the return to the normal global healthcare systems’ which have so far been disrupted by COVID-19 this year.

Despite the somewhat marred results, there were some highlights in the Q2 results, including a strong launch for the company’s spinal muscular atrophy gene therapy Zolgensma (onasemnogene abeparvovec), which brought in $205m in the quarter. Its psoriasis and arthritis drug Cosentyx (secukinumab) also saw a sales rise of 12% to $944m, while its heart failure drug Entresto (sacubitril/valsartan) climbed 40% to $508m.

However, for therapies that require hospital stays, Novartis reported a decline, particularly in its ophthalmology and dermatology franchises. That includes its wet AMD drug Lucentis (ranibizumab), which fell 25% to bring in $401m in the quarter.

Net sales from Novartis’ generics division Sandoz also dropped by 9% to $2.2bn, which the company attributed to negative impacts from COVID-19, and a slowdown in the medicine stockpiling observed in the first quarter of the year.

“Novartis performed strongly in the first half, despite the impact from COVID-19, demonstrating the resilience and agility of our associates and operations. We continued to advance our broad range of efforts to support the COVID-19 pandemic response,” said Vas Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis.

“Our growth drivers and launches continue their strong momentum, with Cosentyx and Entresto increasing market share in the US. We are on track to deliver on our commitment to drive consistent margin expansion and are excited by the progress of our deep mid- to late-stage pipeline to drive long-term growth,” he added.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

21st July 2020

From: Sales



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