Novartis looks to auction off US generics business: 4 takeaways

Novartis plans to auction off its generic pill business in the U.S. amid heightened competition, unnamed sources told Reuters Friday.

Here are four things to know.

1. Novartis cited significant pricing erosion for generic drugs as motivation for a potential divestiture of Sandoz's U.S. division.

"It is a unique situation," Novartis CEO Vasant Narasimhan said of the U.S. generic pills business during an earnings call last month, according to Reuters. "There are significant pricing declines. At least in the medium term, we don't see a shift to that situation, and so we're assessing how best to optimize that given that dynamic."

2. The drugmaker has found more financial success producing injectable and inhalable generic drugs — which are more difficult to produce — versus pills.

3. Novartis will launch a sales process for the generic unit, which could be worth up to $1.6 billion, within the next few weeks, according to sources familiar with the matter.

4. Novartis declined Reuter's request for comment.

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