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Novartis gets EU approval for oral MS drug

GENEVA (AP) — Swiss drug maker Novartis AG says it has received European Union approval to sell its oral multiple sclerosis medication Gilenya in the 27-nation bloc.

The Basel-based company says studies show a 0.5 milligram daily dose significantly reduces the risk of disability progression in some patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.

The drug works by preventing the immune system from damaging the body's own nervous system.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Gilenya to reduce relapses in patients with MS last September.

Analysts at Zuercher Kantonalbank said Monday that potential sales of Gilenya could reach $2 billion by 2015.

Novartis shares rose 1.1 percent to 49.15 Swiss francs ($54.28) on the Zurich exchange.

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