Novartis tops forecasts as crisis impact eases

Novartis beat forecasts in the second quarter.

The Swiss drugmaker saw core net profit rise by a fifth to $3.72 billion.

On Wednesday (July 21) it said demand was returning to pre-crisis levels in most countries and sectors.

Finance chief Harry Kirsch told reporters business was averaging 80-90% of normal.

The company expects further easing of restrictions in the second half of the year.

But problems linger in some areas.

Kirsch cited slower rates of diagnosis for cancer patients, crimping sales of oncology products sold via hospitals.

Overall, however, Novartis said key drug brands were doing well, and the product development pipeline showed promise.

The firm stuck to its 2021 growth targets, saying sales should rise by a low- to mid-single digit range.

Novartis shares rose around 2% in early trades Wednesday.

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