Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG has reported a 6.7 percent increase in profit for the first quarter, boosted by new products and emerging markets.
Novartis says its net profit rose to $2.42 billion from $2.27 billion in the same period last year.
The Basel-based company said in a statement Wednesday that the increase — a turnaround from the 18 percent earnings drop in the first quarter of 2012 — reflected new product launches, strength in emerging markets and E.U. and U.S. drug approvals to offset patent expirations.
But the quarter was notably marked by the controversy over Novartis' outgoing board chairman, Daniel Vasella, who touched off widespread anger for his whopping 72 million Swiss francs ($77 million) severance package that he later declined due to the Swiss public's outcry.