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Novartis Sales Jump amid Sales Representative Lawsuits

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Frankfurt, GermanyWhile Novartis overtime lawsuits continue to be decided across the US, the German pharmaceutical company experienced a second-quarter profit increase of 29 percent, according to a recent Bloomberg report.

The profit boost exceeded the expectations of most analysts, and was largely due to the company's Alcon eye-care division, as well as higher sales of the Sandoz generic drug unit, the news provider said.

The jump in profit represents a bit of good news for the pharmaceutical giant, which recently acquired Alcon as well as a number of other new products including the multiple sclerosis drug Gilenya. Additionally, the increased profits are key as the company loses US patents on two of its best-selling products in 2012 and 2015, according to the news source.

"Overall it's a good, solid set of numbers," Amit Roy, an analyst with Nomura International Plc, told the news provider. "Gilenya is nicely on track."

In the company's pharmaceuticals division, revenue increased by 10 percent to $8.3 billion, the news source said. Sales of Diovan, the company's blood pressure medication, dropped 3 percent, while sales of Novartis' cancer treatment Gleevec were bumped up by 12 percent to $1.2 billion during the second quarter.

The increased overall profit also likely represents good news for Novartis sales representatives, a number of whom were recently granted overtime pay compensation after claiming they did not receive the money they deserved.

In these cases, Novartis had claimed that its sales representatives should not be eligible for overtime pay because they were covered by an exemption for sales professionals who typically have unlimited earning potential because of commissions they can receive.

However, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the sales representatives are responsible for promoting the products sold by Novartis, but do not technically sell them.

In another lawsuit filed by a former Novartis sales representative, a woman claimed that the pharmaceutical company violated the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

According to court documents, Mary Breeden claimed the company did not appoint her to an equivalent position when she returned from maternity leave, despite the fact that the pharmaceutical firm had allegedly promised to do so.

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