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September 13, 2006

Approval and Marketing of a Switch-OTC Product for the Treatment of Allergic Rhinitis

On September 11, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare approved a switch-OTC product* indicated for allergic rhinitis under the brand name Pabron. The original prescription product is the allergy treatment Zaditen (capsule; generic name: ketotifen fumarate), marketed by Novartis Pharma K.K. [Head Office: Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan; President: Nobuyuki Baba] (hereinafter, Novartis Pharma) .

Novartis Pharma will manufacture the approved switch-OTC product, and Taisho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (President: Akira Uehara) will market it as an internally administered rhinitis treatment (in capsule form) under the Pabron brand to pharmacies and some pharmaceutical outlets throughout Japan.

This switch-OTC product contains the same amount of active ingredient, ketotifen fumarate, as the prescription-based allergy treatment Zaditen (capsule), which has been on the prescription drug market since February 1983. The product has three outstanding actions, namely anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic, and anti-histaminic actions, and effectively alleviates the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, such as sneezing, runny nose, and nasal congestion due to pollen, house dust or other allergens.

Novartis Pharma will continue to market the prescription-based allergy treatment Zaditen (capsule) for the treatment of bronchial asthma, allergic rhinitis, and allergic skin disorders.

*Switch-OTC product: Contains an active ingredient that has been transferred (switched) from an ingredient for prescription drugs to an ingredient for OTC drugs. (Consumers can buy OTC drugs at pharmacies and pharmaceutical outlets without prescription.)

About Novartis Pharma
Novartis Pharma is the Japan-based prescription drug subsidiary of Novartis AG, a world leader in pharmaceuticals and consumer health headquartered in Basel, Switzerland. In 2005, the Novartis Group's businesses achieved net sales of US$32.2 billion (approx. 3,543.3 billion yen) and net income of US$6.1 billion (approx. 675.5 billion yen). The Group invested approximately US$4.8 billion (approx. 533.0 billion yen) in R&D. Novartis employs around 96,000 people, and markets products in over 140 countries around the world.

For further information, please visit http://www.novartis.com/