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Italy prosecutors open probe against Roche, Novartis executives

ROME (Reuters) - Prosecutors in Rome have opened an investigation into four executives at Swiss drugmakers Roche and Novartis on suspicion of fraud and manipulation of the pharmaceutical market, judicial sources said on Friday. Earlier this month, Italy's antitrust authorities said Roche and Novartis colluded to try to stop cancer drug Avastin from being used to treat a serious eye disease and fined the companies 182.5 million euros ($251 million).

Novartis drug Jakavi seen as blockbuster after positive data

ZURICH (Reuters) - Novartis drug Jakavi achieved its main goal in a late-stage trial for patients suffering from a rare blood cancer, putting it on track to become a potential blockbuster treatment with sales of $1 billion-plus. Jakavi is already approved to treat myelofibrosis, a form of blood cancer, and was tested in a Phase III trial for patients with polycythemia vera, an incurable cancer associated with the overproduction of blood cells.

Novartis says will appeal 92 million euro cartel fine in Italy

ZURICH (Reuters) - Novartis said it will appeal against a 92 million euro ($126.4 million) fine levied in Italy over alleged anti-competitive practices relating to its eye drug Lucentis and crosstown rival Roche's cancer drug Avastin. "Novartis will use its legal rights of defense according to due process and will appeal," Novartis said in a statement on Wednesday. "We strongly deny allegations about anti-competitive practices between Novartis and Roche in Italy." ($1 = 0.7277 euros)

At Roche, ex-airline boss Franz promises continuity

By Caroline Copley BASEL (Reuters) - Outgoing Lufthansa <LHAG.DE> boss Christoph Franz vowed to keep Roche <ROG.VX> on its current course after shareholders overwhelmingly elected him as chairman of the Swiss drugmaker. The 53-year-old is taking over as non-executive chairman of the world's largest drugmaker by market capitalization from Franz Humer who is stepping down after 16 years as CEO and chairman.

Novartis chairman rules out merger with Roche: paper

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss pharma group Novartis <NOVN.VX> will work more closely with rival Roche <ROG.VX> but rules out a merger, its chairman said in a newspaper interview on Sunday. Asked whether the two companies wanted to stay independent, Joerg Reinhardt, who took over as Novartis chairman in August, told Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung: "Absolutely." He said, however, that he'd met outgoing Roche Chairman Franz Humer a few weeks ago and was also exchanging emails with his successor Christoph Franz.

Tokyo prosecutors raid Novartis Japan offices in probe

ZURICH (Reuters) - Prosecutors in Tokyo raided offices of Swiss drugmaker Novartis <NOVN.VX> on Wednesday as part of an investigation into alleged use of manipulated data to promote its best-selling blood pressure drug Diovan. Japan's health ministry filed a criminal complaint against Novartis's local unit in January, saying it may have violated the law when it cited studies based on allegedly manipulated data in advertising. Novartis said at the time that it had implemented corrective measures.

Japan prosecutors raid Novartis over drug ad scandal

Japanese prosecutors on Wednesday raided the offices of the local arm of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis over alleged exaggerated advertising for a popular blood-pressure drug, local media said. Officials from the Tokyo Prosecution Office were searching the headquarters of Novartis Pharma KK in central Tokyo, public broadcaster NHK and other media reported.

Tokyo prosecutors raid Novartis Japan unit in probe - Kyodo

ZURICH (Reuters) - Prosecutors in Tokyo raided the local unit of Swiss drugmaker Novartis as part of an investigation into alleged use of manipulated data to promote its best-selling blood pressure drug Diovan, Kyodo News reported on Wednesday. Japan's health ministry filed a criminal complaint against Novartis's local unit in January, saying it may have violated the law when it cited studies based on allegedly manipulated data.

Pharma giant Novartis says profits dipped 1.0% in 2013

Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis on Wednesday announced that its net profit fell 1.0 percent in 2013 to $9.2 billion (6.8 billion euros), blaming the impact of unfavourable exchange rates. Without taking into account rate fluctuations -- notably the fall of the Japanese yen and emerging markets' currencies against the dollar -- the group said that profit rose by 7.0 percent last year.

Swiss drug maker Novartis sees Q4 net profit rise 2 per cent to $2.0 billion on generic delay

GENEVA - Swiss drug maker Novartis AG reported a 2 per cent rise in fourth-quarter net profit Wednesday, helped by delays in generic competition to its blockbuster drugs. The Basel, Switzerland-based company said it had a net profit of $2.029 billion attributable to shareholders in the final three months of 2013, up from a restated $1.985 billion in the same period the previous year. Chief Executive Joseph Jimenez said Novartis delivered a strong performance in 2013, growing both net sales and core operating income in constant currencies while absorbing patent expirations.
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