Lek, a Sandoz company, dedicates annual New Year's charity drive to children in Slovene hospitals

Lek concludes New Year's charity drive with visit to children at Ljubljana Pediatric Hospital

23. 1. 2006

Today Lek, a Sandoz company, concluded its New Year’s charity drive, which is dedicated to children in all Slovene hospitals, at the Pediatric Hospital in Ljubljana, with a crafts workshop and a visit by rower Luka Špik. Crafts workshops for the children were held in each hospital, each one received a full-year subscription to Petka magazine, and efforts were made to improve the furnishing of the children’s wards. With this campaign, Lek continues its role as a corporate citizen and contributes to a better life today and tomorrow.

As in past years, Lek also decided to conduct this year’s campaign throughout Slovenia. This year funds were earmarked for children’s hospitals and children’s wards at general hospitals in Maribor, Ljubljana, Izola, Brežice, Celje, Jesenice, Murska Sobota, Novo mesto, Slovenj Gradec, Šempeter near Nova Gorica, Trbovlje and Ptuj. In collecting them the primary focus was to make children’s time in hospitals more pleasant and to stimulate their creativity. Therefore in December and January Lek visited children in hospitals and organized crafts workshops led by skilled leaders, in which the children made decorative objects from various materials. In addition, Lek gave each hospital full-year subscriptions to Petka magazine, so that every hospitalized child in 2006 will be able to get their own copy of the magazine, which is designed to stimulate curiosity, the joy of solving various tasks, reading, writing, drawing and logical thinking through a variety of exercises.

“We decided to dedicate this year’s New Year’s campaign to children who have been separated from their loved ones due to their illnesses and hospitalization. We want to make this time as easy as possible for them, so we sincerely hope that these workshops and Petka magazines will help to focus their thoughts on more pleasant aspects of life,” said Ales Süssinger, Head of Sales and Marketing Slovenia at Lek, while visiting children at the Pediatric Hospital in Ljubljana.

As part of this year’s charity drive, Lek also made donations to help furnish the children’s hospitals and wards, with items which these health-care institutions most need in order to provide a more pleasant atmosphere for hospitalized children in the long term. In order to make these gifts as appropriate as possible, they were selected by the heads of the individual children’s hospitals and wards themselves.

Lek Pharmaceuticals has been improving and maintaining the health and quality of life of children in Slovenia for over 60 years. In many areas is it an active participant in the social sphere, as it takes part in humanitarian and health campaigns and sponsors sports, cultural, educational and research activities.

This year’s New Year’s charity drive represents a further contribution to Lek’s role as a corporate citizen, which is an integral part of its mission. Lek’s role also corresponds with Novartis’ corporate citizenship, which is one of the foundations of the operations of this globally successful pharmaceutical company.

Lek, a Sandoz company, is one of the pillars of leading world generics company Sandoz. It operates as a global development center for products and technologies, as a global manufacturing center for active pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines, as a competence center for the development of vertically integrated products, as a Sandoz competence center in the field of development and manufacturing of biopharmaceutical products and as a supply center for the markets of CEE, SEE and CIS, sales Slovenia and sales services for Sandoz’s global markets. Lek d.d. employs about 2,850 people and achieved total sales of USD 656,5 million in 2005. For further information please consult http://www.lek.si

Sandoz, a Division of the Novartis group, is a global leader in the field of generic pharmaceuticals, offering a wide array of high-quality, affordable products that are no longer protected by patents. Sandoz has a portfolio of more than 600 active substances in over 5 000 forms worldwide. Key product groups include antibiotics, treatments for central nervous system disorders, gastrointestinal medicines, cardiovascular treatments and hormone therapies. Sandoz develops, produces and markets these drugs along with pharmaceutical and biotechnological active substances and anti-infectives. In addition to the strong organic growth in recent years, Sandoz has made a series of acquisitions including Lek (Slovenia), Sabex (Canada), Hexal (Germany) and EonLabs (U.S.) and sells its products in more than 110 countries. In 2005, Sandoz employed around 20,000 people worldwide and posted sales of USD 4.7 billion

Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) is a world leader in offering medicines to protect health, cure disease and improve well-being. Our goal is to discover, develop and successfully market innovative products to treat patients, ease suffering and enhance the quality of life. Novartis is the only company with leadership positions in both patented and generic pharmaceuticals. We are strengthening our medicine-based portfolio, which is focused on strategic growth platforms in innovation-driven pharmaceuticals, high-quality and low-cost generics and leading self-medication OTC brands. In 2005, the Group’s businesses achieved net sales of USD 32.2 billion and net income of USD 6.1 billion. Approximately USD 4.8 billion was invested in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 91,000 people and operate in over 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.

This press release contains statements and conclusions based on projections of Lek’s future business operations. These estimates are derived from the best information currently available. In case these forecasts prove unreliable, the actual results could prove different from those projected.

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    For further information contact:
    Špela Jurak
    Corporate Communications Lek Pharmaceuticals d.d.

Phone: + 386 1 580 22 43
Fax: + 386 1 580 24 32