Like many pharmaceutical companies, Novartis is starting to face generic competition, with its breast cancer drug Femara and its blood pressure medicine Diovan losing patent protection.
A spokesman for Novartis said the firm could not confirm that number. Novartis’ local rival Roche has announced it would cut several thousand jobs in a similar cost-saving drive.
Novartis said earlier this year it expects to withstand competition from cheaper copies of its drugs after it posted forecast-beating secondquarter 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.