Novartis beats sales forecasts

SWISS drugmaker Novartis expects to withstand competition from cheaper copies of its drugs after it posted forecast-beating second-quarter sales helped by its newest products.

Sales rose 27 per cent, or 19 per cent in constant currencies, to $14.9bn (£9.24bn), ahead of a poll average of $14.7bn, while sales volume at the key pharma unit rose eight per cent.

The group said its new products and its diversified strategy mean it is well placed to deal with the fact that several of its blockbuster drugs will lose patent protection soon.