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Novartis lifts guidance for second quarter in row

FABRICE COFFRINI | AFP | Getty Images

Swiss drugmaker Novartis raised its full-year outlook for a second quarter in a row on Wednesday, due to the ongoing absence of generic competition to its best-selling blood pressure pill Diovan.

The Basel-based firm now expects full-year sales to grow at a low to mid-single digit rate in constant currencies, and core earnings to be in line or better than the previous year.

It had previously guided for a low single digit decline in core earnings, and low single-digit sales growth.

Novartis lost its patent rights on Diovan in the United States last year but has so far been spared the full blow of the patent loss as U.S. regulators have not yet approved a generic version of its monotherapy from Ranbaxy Laboratories.

Novartis' net sales were up 4 percent in the third quarter to $14.338 billion, generating core earnings per shares of $1.26 billion. Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast net sales of $14.316 billion and core EPS of $1.29.

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