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I'm not sure that this par is sufficiently important to warrant inclusion, or if it is, not up in the overview summary of the company. It was also unreferenced. --Bob Burton 01:10, 12 December 2008 (EST)

"In addition to internal research and development activities, Novartis is also involved in publicly funded collaborative research projects, with other industrial and academic partners. One example in the area of non-clinical safety assessment is the InnoMed PredTox. The company is also expanding its activities in joint research projects within the framework of the Innovative Medicines Initiative of EFPIA and the European Commission.

Overall comments

In general, the profile on the company is almost entirely a collection of material that has been cut-and-pasted from other sites. Some is partly referenced, some is not. Even if referenced, there is a need for material to be condensed down to be more reader friendly. Some specific comments are:

  • Company History: the section on the company history looks like it has been cut and pasted from somewhere. As it stands, it has a lot of the very early history of the companies that later merged to become Novartis. I suspect that most readers are really going to be most interested in the most recent history. So I would propose that this section be condensed down to the recent past but include a passing mention and a reference link to the earlier history. If it is felt that the earlier history is worth keeping, I'm inclined to move it to a side page such as Novartis/History.

Other corporate pages have a much smaller history section - see Brother.

  • The references don't currently conform to our preferred reference formatting. See Help:References.
  • The financial data: again this is rather dry and I'm not sure that most readers are going to find all that data all that useful. I'd be inclined to condense it right down to the most useful information (the turnover, the number of employees, perhaps the R&D %) and a reference link to the more detaiuled information. If data from both 2006 and 2007 is needed then it would probably be better to either include the comparative data in the narrative text (ie 'In 2007 Novartis had X,000 employees, compared to X,000 in the preceding year" etc). Or have the data in a table. (If you donlt know how to do a table I can help).
  • Business Strategy: I'm not sure that what is there is really what is intended for this section which I assume is more about what changes are currently underway in the company and why. For example, I'm not sure that a listing of the vaccine areas is all that useful. And the sections on Sandoz, Over-the-counter drugs, Animal Health and Ciba Vision should probably be condensed down to one par and the text paraphrased.
  • Corporate Accountability: each of the sections consists of one or more pars cut and pasted from a single source news story or report. They really should be paraphrased and condensed right down. If readers want to read more than the basic summary, they can follow the link. Or the section could be expanded but just cutting and pasting makes these sections of what others have written rather than presenting the key information. And it makes it look like the sections have been done in a hurry.

I'm out of time for now but I'll be back later.--Bob Burton 01:40, 12 December 2008 (EST)

Bob, I can't begin to tell you how truly thankful I am to see that you've gone through the trouble of revising my Novartis article; your observations are dead-on, and can truly be applied to all of the other articles I've posted on Source Watch.
In the Corporate Accountability part I thought it would be best to add a few quotes from each article so that people would get the main idea, but what you say is completely truthful and it makes it look as if it was done in a hurry.
I should have the 2006-2007 data in a table, but I'm sorry to say I have no clue how to do one, if you would be so kind as to explain it to me, it would be of great help!
Now, when you say "our preferred reference formatting", do you mean all of my references are done wrong, or only some?
Once again, thank you for your observations, I really need to make my profiles more reader-friendly! User:Pablo.gutierrez13

Pablo, sorry not to get back to the page last night but I just ran out of steam. I'll keep on chipping away it over over the course of the weekend and jot a few more notes so that you can see what I have done. cheers --Bob Burton 14:47, 12 December 2008 (EST)

Removed early history

I have removed a substantial about of details about the predecessor companies to Novartis. It is posted below -- as this material is already available on the web, I'm not inclined to reproduce it again though I'll add a pointer link to the early history.--Bob Burton 14:47, 12 December 2008 (EST)


Johann Rudolf Geigy-Gemuseus (1733–1793) began trading in 1758 in materials, chemicals, dyes and drugs of all kinds"[cite this quote] in Basel, Switzerland. Johann Rudolf Geigy-Merian (1830–1917) and Johann Muller-Pack acquired a site in Basel in 1857, where they built a dyewood mill and a dye extraction plant. Two years later, they began the production of synthetic fuchsine. In 1901, they formed the public limited company Geigy and the name of the company was changed to J. R. Geigy Ltd in 1914.

In 1859 Alexander Clavel (1805 – 1873) took up the production of fuchsine in his factory for silk-dyeing works in Basel. In 1864, a new site for the production of synthetic dyes was constructed, and in 1873, Clavel sold his dye factory to the new company Bindschedler & Busch. In 1884 Bindschedler & Busch is transformed into a joint-stock company with the name "Gesellschaft für Chemische Industrie Basel" (Company for Chemical Industry Basel). The abbreviation Ciba was adopted as the company's name in 1945.

In 1925 J. R. Geigy Ltd. began producing textile auxiliaries,[clarification needed] an activity which Ciba took up in 1928.

In 1939, Geigy chemist Paul Hermann Müller discovered that DDT was effective against malaria-bearing insects. He received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for this work in 1948.

Ciba and Geigy merged in 1971 to form Ciba-Geigy Ltd., and this company merged with Sandoz in 1996 to form Novartis.


Founded in 1886 by Dr. Alfred Kern (1850–1893) and Edouard Sandoz (1853–1928). The first dyes manufactured there were alizarine blue and auramine. After Kern's death, the partnership became the corporation Chemische Fabrik vormals Sandoz in 1895. The company began producing the fever-reducing drug antipyrin in the same year. Further pharmaceutical research began in 1917 under Professor Arthur Stoll (1887–1971). In 1899, the company began producing the sugar substitute saccharin.

Between the World Wars, Gynergen (1921) and Calcium-Sandoz (1929) were brought to market. Sandoz also produced chemicals for textiles, paper, and leather, beginning in 1929. In 1939, they began producing agricultural chemicals.

In 2005, Sandoz expanded significantly though the acquisition of Hexal, one of Germany's largest generic drug companies, and Eon Labs, a fast-growing US generic pharmaceutical company.

Sandoz opened its first foreign offices in 1964.

In 1967, Sandoz merged with Wander AG (known for Ovomaltine and Isostar). Sandoz acquired the companies Delmark, Wasabröd (a Swedish manufacturer of crisp bread), and Gerber Products Company (a baby food company).

On 1 November 1986, a fire broke out in a production plant storage room, which led to a large amount of pesticide being released into the upper Rhine river. This exposure had quite a negative impact on the aquatic and environmental surroundings.

In 1995, Sandoz spun off its speciality chemicals business to form Clariant. Subsequently, in 1997, Clariant merged with the speciality chemicals business that was spun off from Hoechst AG in Germany.

Further cull from the history section

I'm not sure that these bits really added much so have taken them off the article page.--Bob Burton 04:44, 13 December 2008 (EST)

In 1998 the company made headlines with its biotechnology licensing agreement with the UC Berkeley Department of Plant and Microbial Biology. Critics of the agreement expressed concern over prospects that the agreement would diminish academic objectivity, or lead to the commercialization of genetically modified plants. The agreement expired in 2003.

The ongoing Basel Campus Project has the aim to transform the St. Johann site - Novartis headquarters in Basel - "from an industrial complex to a place of innovation, knowledge and encounter".[11]

In 2005, Novartis introduced Certican (Everolimus), an immunosuppressant, and in October 2006 began marketing Telbivudine, a new antiviral drug for hepatitis B."

Historical overview taken from:[1] and [2]

Business Strategy

I haven't made any changes here at the moment but I think it needs more work. While this section sketches that there are six main areas of the companies operations, it would be more useful if it indicated:

  • the relative size of each of the segments;
  • which ones are growing or contracting (over the last few years) and perhaps with an explanation of why;
  • any overview comments from the CEO in the latest annual report;
  • any operations that they have recently sold off (which could give an indication of areas that they are moving away from).--Bob Burton 00:20, 16 December 2008 (EST)

Labor section

"Novartis - dealing with complexities of implementing a living wage"

"Based in Basel, this Swiss pharmaceutical company employs more than 101,000 people and operates in 140 countries. Its focus extends not only to the users of its products but to its employees as well being one of the first international companies to develop and implement a voluntary commitment to pay a living wage to all of its employees around the world. According to Novartis, to focus on a living rather than a minimum wage can contribute to stability and prosperity in communities and attract more skilled, productive and loyal employees. However, being one of the first companies to implement a living wage meant that it was done in the absence of universally accepted models. Novartis took a range of existing methodologies that considered specific geographic data and household expenditure for varying household sizes and places of residence."

exactly who authored this is not really clear but it seems that it is a third party commentary on Novartis. But a section on labor issue should at least start with key claims in Novartis's policy and any other perspectives on the company's approach to labor issues.--Bob Burton 03:54, 16 December 2008 (EST)

Human Rights section

The material that has been cut and pasted really should be condensed down to a brief paraphrasing of points relevant to Novartis. For example, the "Misdeeds by pharmaceutical industry" section only makes a passing mention of Novartis and the website linked to contains no detail on what Novartis specifically is supposed to have done as there doesn't seem to be a link to the report only a brief description of what is in it. So I'm not sure that there ie much benefit in including that example unless more detail is available.--Bob Burton 04:17, 16 December 2008 (EST)

"Misdeeds by pharmaceutical industry"


"New medicines are often tested on people in developing countries in an unethical manner. The Wemos Foundation in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, finds it scandalous that the pharmaceutical industry exploits the weak position of people in developing countries. A new report from the Dutch Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) documents no fewer than 22 known cases in which the rights of trial subjects have been violated.

The report was released on Friday, 17 November during an event held to mark the silver jubilee of the Wemos Foundation. Liesbeth van der Kruit took such politicians as Diederik Samsom (PvdA) and Kees Vendrik(GroenLinks) to task about this issue during the Grote Verkiezingsshow (the Great Election Show). The report describes tests that involved various well-known pharmaceutical companies such as Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline."[3]

"Compulsory licensing “a last mechanism,” says Thai Health Minister"

August, 2008. "Thailand’s new Public Health Minister, Chawarat Charnveerakul, has said that imposing compulsory licensing (CL) is “the last mechanism” that the government would use “to help the poor get access to life-saving drugs at a fair price."

"First, we have to negotiate with drug firms to reduce the price of their drugs. If they do not agree with us we will then impose compulsory licensing for expensive drugs to save our patients’ lives," said Mr Chawarat, who was appointed to his post this month in a cabinet reshuffle. He added that his Ministry had not revoked the CL policy as a way of obtaining essential drugs, but retained it as “a key mechanism” in negotiating for lower prices."[4]

"Malaria campaigners hopeful on drugs pricing deal"

Septemeber, 2008. "Anti-malaria campaigners are confident that a deal can be reached with pharmaceuticals groups to cut the cost of new drugs needed to fight a disease estimated to kill more than 1 million people a year.

Negotiations are being held with several big drugs makers as part of a wider drive to bring the cost of so-called artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) down to the level of the older, but now ineffective, chloroquinine treatments.

"I am very hopeful that this first stage, the negotiations, will produce results,"Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria told reporters in Paris on Tuesday."[5]

USA: Novartis Phasing Out Genetically Engineered Foods

Environment News Service

August 4th, 2000

"Novartis, one of the world's leading producers of genetically engineered seeds, has been phasing out genetically engineered ingredients in its food products worldwide for over a year.

Responding to a statement issued by environmental group Greenpeace International yesterday, Novartis Consumer Health U.S. vice president Sheldon Jones told ENS there is nothing new about the company's stand on genetically engineered food.

Greenpeace cited a letter sent by Novartis' European Consumer Health department as evidence the company had stopped producing food containing genetically engineered ingredients in its own brands on June 30.

In particular, the letter stated production of the candy bar Cereal Chocosoja had been stopped because Novartis could not guarantee its non-GM quality."[6]

"INDIA: Novartis Patents Case Far From Dead"

Inter Press Service News Agency

August 9th, 2007

"Cancer patients in India have reason to be relieved at a high court ruling this week which dismissed a petition by Swiss pharmaceuticals multinational corporation (MNC) Novartis challenging an Indian law which denies patents for minor or trivial improvements to known drugs. At immediate stake is the cost of a leukaemia drug, imatinib mesylate. Novartis prices its brand of the medicine, Gleevec/Glivec, at Rs 120,000 (3,000 US dollars) per dose. Indian generic drug manufacturers sell it at Rs 8,000 (200 dollars). India’s average per capita annual income is equivalent to only a fifth of the price of a single dose of Gleevec/Glivec. Had Novartis been granted a patent on its version of the drug, tens of thousands of Indians would have been deprived of life-saving treatment.[7]

"The Berlin medical journal "arznei-telegramm" accused Novartis in 2002 of leaving out unfavourable results in the publication of a study of the drug Diovan, in order to make the efficacy of the drug look better than it actually was. The same journal also accused Novartis of illegal marketing practices and creating expectations of efficacy that could not be met."[8]

"In 2002, the Swiss consumer protection agency Stiftung für Konsumentenschutz criticized Novartis for misleading consumers. Novartis had stated in its sales promotion that its drug Mebucasol F was new on the market, but the active ingredients would be the same as those of an older but cheaper drug with the name Sangerol."[9]

Farmers Launch Anti-Trust Suit Against Monsanto

January 4th, 2000

"Six farmers -- from the U.S. and France -- named as representatives of farmers worldwide, under the aegis of the National Family Farm Coalition, in a suit formulated by Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll on behalf of a consortium of other firms, have launched a major anti-trust, price fixing law suit against the Monsanto Corp. and nine corporate co-conspirators (including Novartis)"[10]

In 2004, a class action lawsuit was filed in the US against Novartis accused them of providing fraudulent kickbacks, discounts and rebates to encourage pharmacy benefits managers to put its drugs on their formularies. The case is still pending.[11]