Novartis CEO says 2020 guidance could be affected if COVID-19 lockdowns resume

FILE PHOTO: Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan addresses the Swiss drugmaker's annual news conference in Basel, Switzerland, January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

ZURICH (Reuters) - Novartis NOVN.S Chief Executive Vas Narasimhan said on Tuesday that he expects volatility in health care systems due to rising COVID-19 infections, but added hospitals are getting better at dealing with the pandemic, compared with earlier in the year.

Narasimhan added he “must acknowledge” that if there were more severe lockdowns, such disruptions could impact 2020 guidance, which now calls for sales to grow by a mid-single-digit percentage rate, and core operating income growth in the low double-digit to mid-teen percentage range.

Reporting by John Miller; editing by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi