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Novartis to cut 1,960 jobs in US

Swiss drugmaker Novartis has announced plans to cut 1,960 jobs in the US.

The company said the move reflected the impending loss of its patent on blood pressure drug Diovan and expected lower sales of one of its hypertension drugs.

Some 1,630 jobs will go from its sales force and another 330 positions from the reorganisation of the headquarters of its US general medicines business.

Other pharmaceutical firms have also cut their sales forces as the industry faces a wave of patent expiries.

In December, AstraZeneca said it was cutting 1,150 jobs in the US, reducing its sales force in the US by 24%.

David Epstein, division head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, said the next two years would be "challenging".

"These are difficult but necessary decisions that will free up resources to invest in the future of our business," he said.

Novartis also said it would take a charge of $900m (£586m) in the fourth quarter of 2011 relating to its Rasilez drug, also known as Tekturna.

It expects lower sales of the blood pressure pill after the failure of a clinical trial.

BBC News

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