Jan 27, 3:36 AM EST

Swiss drug maker Novartis posts Q4 profit drop but overall strong 2014

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BERLIN (AP) -- Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG says fourth quarter net income dropped 26 percent but the company still posted a healthy 2014 annual profit.

The Basel, Switzerland-based company said Tuesday that fourth quarter net income came in at $1.49 billion, down from $2 billion in the same quarter the year before excluding its blood-transfusion diagnostics unit, which it sold in 2013. Novartis took a one-time charge of $1.1 billion in the quarter connected to the sale of its flu vaccine business.

Year-end profit rose to $10.3 billion in 2014, a 12 percent increase over 2013's $9.6 billion profit excluding the diagnostics unit.

CEO Joseph Jimenez said in 2014 Novartis "delivered solid sales growth with margin expansion, strengthened innovation and advanced our quality and productivity."

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