Leisure time and children's enjoyment are the major themes of this year's Children's Week

1. 10. 2007

Ljubljana, October 1, 2007 – Children’s Week began today in Slovenia, which is dedicated to an important question in the lives of children: Do our children and youths have sufficient opportunities for relaxed, healthy and creative enjoyment of their leisure time and holidays and interest in appropriate forms of enjoyment? Their right to these things is set out in the Convention on the Rights of Children, and Children’s Enjoyment and Leisure Time was also the topic of this year’s 18th annual Youth Parliament.

“Our association and the member associations of the Friends of Youth Association of Slovenia, as well as schools, kindergartens and other institutions will be organizing a number of shows, conferences and other events focusing on this topic. A show titled Fun Within Reason and a round table discussion on the topic of enjoyment and leisure time will officially open the events at the 18th Youth Parliament in Murska Sobota,” says Majda Struc, General Secretary of the Friends of Youth Association of Slovenia (FYAS). The more significant events making up Children’s Week will also include the official opening of the Thumbelina Shelter in Grosuplje, which is already providing shelter to preschool children who live in difficult circumstances.

Franc Hočevar, President of the FYAS: “Leisure time, if appropriately organized, can give children new opportunities, new knowledge, help them develop their skills, give them social experience and develop friendly relations with their peers and older people. The level of a child’s or youth’s freedom to select, sign up for and participate in the various programs depends on their age, interests, level of awareness and the material conditions of the parents, and the environment in which they live. Since the differences among the opportunities which children and youth have for spending their leisure time are continuing to increase, in this year’s mission statement for Children’s Week we are reminding the Slovene public about a series of issues which we can and must address so that leisure time, games and fun will not become a trap for our children, but an important opportunity for appropriate and healthy development.”

The FYAS also presented the achievements of their humanitarian campaigns, through which they provide free holidays and thus quality enjoyment of leisure time every year for around 1000 children from all over Slovenia. The most prominent of them are Wink at the Sun, We Were All Children Once, holidays for children with special needs, A Small Gift for Great Joy – holidays for children from the countryside, family holidays and the project Intergenerational Camp. Lek, a Sandoz company, has been a major partner of the Wink at the Sun campaign and Children’s Week for many years. “Children’s Week is an opportunity, together with the children, who are able to say very sincerely what bothers them, to look for opportunities to create a pleasant and creative childhood and to remove the barriers which stand in our way. Lek together with the Friends of Youth Association of Slovenia has been doing so for many years and these efforts will continue,” says member of the Lek Board of Management Darija Brečevič, who adds: “We are living in times when human and children’s rights, the quality of life and universal equality are words which are spoken frequently. Therefore it also sometimes seems as if all of this is taken care of. But unfortunately that is not the case, and we have to become aware of this, pay attention to the events happening around us and try to contribute as much as possible to creating a better life. This is true above all for the youngest children, who need our help and support all the time. The things that children experience in childhood will be a mark which they carry with them when they grow up. Our objective has to be to provide equal opportunities for development for all children, and a healthy and full life without the social pressures which in no way belong in children’s lives.”

The FYAS carries out many leisure time programs, and according to the figures which they calculate every year, the programs, shows and other events which the members of the FYAS organize are participated in by 250 thousand children, youths and their parents every year, while nearly 4000 volunteers participate in the programs.

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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 2,820 people and achieved total sales of USD 904 million in 2006. 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 840 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 2006, Sandoz employed around 21,000 people worldwide and posted sales of USD 6 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 2006, the Group’s businesses achieved net sales of USD 37.0 billion and net income of USD 7.2 billion. Approximately USD 5.4 billion was invested in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 101,000 people and operate in over 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.

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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:

Katarina Klemenc Dinjaški

Corporate Communications

Lek Pharmaceuticals d.d.

Phone: + 386 1 580 22 43

Fax: + 386 1 580 24 32