Novartis: Tough times to come

NOVARTIS warned that price cuts, US healthcare reform and generics competition were likely to dampen pharma sales growth, as it missed fourth quarter earnings forecasts.

The Swiss drug-maker reported a 10 per cent drop in fourth-quarter core earnings per share as one-off costs weighed.

It will take a $2bn (£1.3bn) writedown related to its buy of eyecare group Alcon this year.

Novartis still posted slightly better-than-expected fourth-quarter sales, which rose 10 per cent thanks to the success of its newest products.