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Novartis raises '13 outlook despite 2Q profit drop

GENEVA (AP) -- Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG has raised its outlook for the full year, despite a 5 percent net income drop in the second quarter.

The Basel-based company said it expects full-year sales to grow at a rate in the low single-digits, boosted by delays in generic competition against its blockbuster Diovan.

Generically called Valsartan, Diovan is a treatment for high blood pressure which lost U.S. patent protection last year. Novartis has been counting on new product launches, such as Gilenya for multiple sclerosis and Afinitor for cancer, to offset patent expirations.

Novartis said Wednesday its net income fell to $2.548 billion, down from $2.675 billion in the comparable period a year ago.

Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis, said the company delivered a solid second quarter, with Gilenya a particular highlight.