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August 3, 2005

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

On August 1, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare approved a switch OTC product* for the treatment of allergic rhinitis under the brand name Pabron. The original prescription product is Zaditen Nasal Solution (generic name: ketotifen fumarate), marketed by Novartis Pharma K.K. (Novartis Pharma; Head Office: Minato-ku, Tokyo, President: Nobuyuki Baba).

Novartis Pharma will import the switch OTC product, and Taisho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Taisho Pharmaceutical; Head Office: Toshima-ku, Tokyo, President: Akira Uehara) will market it as nasal drops in the Pabron brand to pharmacies and some pharmaceutical outlets throughout Japan.

The switch OTC product contains the same amount of active ingredient, ketotifen fumarate, as Zaditen Nasal Solution (which has been marketed as a prescription product since July 1991). The product has three actions (anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic and anti-histaminic), 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 continues to market the prescription product Zaditen Nasal Solution.

* 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

Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) is a world leader in pharmaceuticals and consumer health. In 2004, the Group's businesses achieved net sales of USD 28.2 billion and pro forma net income of USD 5.6 billion. The Group invested approximately USD 4.2 billion in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland; Novartis Group companies employ about 83,700 people and operate in over 140 countries around the world.

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