Swiss drug maker Novartis says Q3 net income drops following sale of shares to Merck last year

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GENEVA — Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis says net income fell 42 percent in the third quarter, largely due to the sale of its hepatitis drug unit a year earlier and provisions for legal settlements and fees.

The company says the integration of businesses from a multibillion-dollar product exchange with rival GlaxoSmithKline earlier this year is on track.

Net income fell to $1.81 billion from $3.1 billion a year earlier, when it earned money on the sale of shares of Idenix Pharmaceuticals to Merck.

Net sales rose 6 percent to $12.3 billion when discounting currency fluctuations.

Net sales in its pharmaceuticals unit rose 7 percent by that measure, but generic competition for its Diovan monotherapy and Exforge high blood pressure treatments and Exelon Patch, an Alzheimer's treatment, had a negative impact.

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