Continued growth in sales of key products underpinned strong performance in the Innovative Medicines Division (IM) in 2019. Net sales of USD 37.7 billion grew 11% (cc) from the prior year. Both business units registered doubledigit growth: Novartis Pharmaceuticals had net sales of USD 23.3 billion, up 12% (cc), driven primarily by increases for Cosentyx, our treatment for psoriasis and other autoimmune diseases, and Entresto, our heart failure treatment. Net sales in Novartis Oncology were USD 14.4 billion, up 10% (cc) from 2018, driven by increases for Lutathera, a radioligand therapy; Promacta (known as Revolade outside the US); and Kisqali, a breast cancer treatment. Newly launched or acquired products – including Piqray, Zolgensma, Xiidra and Beovu – also contributed to the strong IM performance. Overall, products that we consider our key growth drivers contributed 35% of IM net sales in 2019. Core operating income was USD 12.7 billion, up 18% (cc), driven by higher sales and improved productivity, but partly offset by increased investment in marketing and sales.
Our Sandoz Division returned to sales growth, up 2% (cc) to USD 9.7 billion, and margin expansion in 2019. Globally, growth continued to be driven by sales of biopharmaceuticals, including biosimilars, which rose 16% (cc) to USD 1.6 billion. Sales in Europe rose 9% (cc). Sales in the US declined 10% amid continued pressure on prices for generic medicines industrywide. Core operating income was USD 2.1 billion, up 10% (cc). Sandoz continued to become a more autonomous and leaner division within Novartis in 2019 and sharpened its focus on core generics and biosimilars. In November, Sandoz announced plans to expand its presence in Japan, the world’s third-largest generics market, through the acquisition of Aspen Pharmacare’s Japanese generics business.