The Basel-based firm said core net income fell to $3.2 billion, from $3.33 billion a year ago, while sales fell seven percent to $11.9 billion from continuing operations.
Novartis, which formed a joint venture with Britain's GlaxoSmithKline for consumer health products and sold an animal health division to Eli Lilly, said net profits rose to $13 billion if those transactions were included.
"Our focus on execution has resulted in a strong operational performance," Novartis chief executive Joseph Jimenez said.
"We have completed the GSK and Lilly transactions and innovation continues to be strong."
The group said it maintained its single-digit growth target for 2015.
The company is banking on new offerings such as an anti-heart failure treatment LCZ696 and Zarxio, a cancer drug.
"We had three approvals in Oncology, FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) priority review for LCZ696, Zarxio became the first biosimilar approved under the new pathway in the US and we launched Cosentyx globally," Jimenez said.
"We are on track to deliver our full-year guidance," he said.