Novartis AG was incorporated on February 29, 1996 under the Swiss laws. On December 20, 1996, its predecessor companies, Ciba-Geigy AG and Sandoz AG, merged into this new entity, creating Novartis. The Company is engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of healthcare and pharmaceuticals products. The Company's portfolio includesmedicines, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and diagnostic tools, over-the-counter and animal health products. The Company's wholly-owned businesses are organized into six global operating divisions, and report teir results in the following five segments; Pharmaceuticals: Innovative patent-protected prescription medicines, Alcon: Surgical, ophthalmic pharmaceutical and vision care products, Sandoz: Generic pharmaceuticals, Vaccines and Diagnostics: Preventive human vaccines and blood testing diagnostics, Consumer Health: OTC (over-the-counter medicines) and Animal Health. The Pharmaceuticals division researches, develops, manufactures, distributes and sells patented prescription medicines and is organized in the following business franchises: Primary Care, consisting of Primary Care medicines and Established Medicines; and Specialty Care, consisting of Ophthalmology, Neuroscience, Integrated Hospital Care, and Critical Care medicines. The manufacture of the products is complex and heavily regulated by governmental health authorities, which means that supply is never guaranteed. If the Company or its third party suppliers fail to comply with applicable regulations then there could be a product recall or other shutdown or disruption of its production activities. The Company is subject to the laws of Switzerland, in particular Swiss company and securities laws, and to the securities laws of the United States as applicable to foreign private issuers of securities.