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Novartis has reported that its fourth quarter net profit fell 47% to $1.21bn as the company felt the impact of a previously disclosed charge of $900m, relating to a forecasted decline for sales of its Tekturna drug.

The company was, however, boosted by 4% increases to its sales and pharmaceutical turnover, which rose to $14.78bn and $8.31bn respectively.

Blood pressure medication Diovan retained its title as the company’s biggest seller, but the drug reported a 16% decline in sales to $1.32bn as generic competition in Europe infringed upon its market share. Novartis’s newer drugs showed impressive growth, with cardiovascular drug Exforge reporting a 29% increase in sales to $323m and sales of Exjade rose 10% to $229m.

Novartis also reported impressive performances from its other units, with vaccines and diagnostics rising 86% to $671m and eye unit Alcon improving by 6% to $2.43bn, however, generics subsidiary Sandoz reported a 5% decline in turnover to $2.29bn.

Novartis chief executive Joe Jimenez praised the company’s momentum, but acknowledged the company had mixed fortunes, adding: "we experienced some disappointments in the fourth quarter, with Tekturna and with the need to improve our quality standards at some manufacturing sites."

Caption: Novartis’s headquarters, located in Basel, Switzerland. Image: Novartis