Novartis Profit Slips 2%; Vaccines Lower

Updated from 4:28 a.m. EST

BASEL, Switzerland ( TheStreet) -- Novartis ( NVS) said fourth-quarter earnings fell 2% despite a 10% increase in revenue.

Novartis, the Swiss drugmaker, earned $2.265 billion in the quarter, down from $2.323 billion a year earlier. Net sales in the quarter rose to $14.2 billion from $12.93 billion. Pharmaceutical sales rose 3% to $8 billion.

Novartis said sales in its vaccine division fell 74% to $361 million, impacting fourth-quarter profits. A year earlier the company saw $1 billion of pandemic flu vaccine sales which weren't repeated in the latest quarter.

In 2011, Novartis said reported sales growth would be lower "as a result of the combined effect of price reductions seen in 2010, the full impact of health care reform in the U.S. and generic competition."

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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