Washington, D.C. 20549

                                    FORM 6-K

                        REPORT OF FOREIGN PRIVATE ISSUER
                      PURSUANT TO RULE 13a-16 or 15d-16 OF
                       THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

                     Report on Form 6-K dated March 18, 2003
                          (Commission File No. 1-15024)


                                   Novartis AG
                              (Name of Registrant)


                                 Lichtstrasse 35
                                   4056 Basel

                    (Address of Principal Executive Offices)


Indicate by check mark whether the registrant files or will file annual reports
under cover of Form 20-F or Form 40-F:

                          Form 20-F: |X| Form 40-F: |_|

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is submitting the Form 6-K in paper as
permitted by Regulation S-T Rule 101(b)(1):

                                Yes: |_| No: |X|

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is submitting the Form 6-K in paper as
permitted by Regulation S-T Rule 101(b)(7):

                                Yes: |_| No: |X|

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant by furnishing the information
contained in this form is also thereby furnishing the information to the
Commission pursuant to Rule 12g3-2(b) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

                                Yes: |_| No: |X|

Enclosures: Press release dated March 18, 2003 announcing Novartis AG is to
            acquire Enablex (darifenacin), an incontinence treatment from Pfizer

                                                      Novartis International AG
                                                      Novartis Communications
                                                      CH-4002 Basel
                                                      Tel + 41 61 324 2200
                                                      Fax + 41 61 324 3300
                                                      Internet Address:


Novartis to acquire Enablex(R) (darifenacin), a new incontinence treatment for a
rapidly expanding population of patients, from Pfizer

Strategic acquisition further strengthens Novartis' competitive primary care

Basel, 18 March 2003 - Novartis announced today that it will further strengthen
its primary care product portfolio through the acquisition of Pfizer's M3
antagonist, Enablex(R) (darifenacin). Pfizer is to divest the product to comply
with regulatory requirements surrounding its planned merger with Pharmacia.
Under the terms of the agreement, which is conditional upon, amongst other
things, approval of the Federal Trade Commission and the European Commission,
Novartis has agreed to pay a total of up to USD 225 million, part of which is
conditional on certain marketing approvals being obtained in the US and EU. The
new drug application (NDA) was filed in December 2002 and, if approved, Enablex
is expected to reach the US market in 2004, where an estimated 17 million
patients suffer from bladder control problems. European approval is expected in
2004. Worldwide, it is estimated that 50 to 200 million people are affected by
the condition, and Novartis will seek approvals to bring this new therapeutic
option to patients in other countries.

Dr. Daniel Vasella, Chairman and CEO of Novartis, commented: "Urinary
incontinence is a significant burden on the daily lives of patients and
caregivers. The overactive bladder market is growing 30% a year worldwide, but
today many potential patients are not treated. Enablex is an important therapy
that could help. Our strength in primary care and experience in patient
education programs has given us considerable insight into how to reach patients
and their physicians to increase understanding and provide new treatment

Overactive bladder is the most common bladder control condition. It is caused by
a problem with the bladder's detrusor muscle and is characterized by
incontinence, urinary urgency and frequency, and nocturia. Enablex works by
selectively blocking an important signal receptor (the M3 cholinergic receptor)
involved in the control of bladder muscle contraction. Overactive bladder is a
disruptive condition that not only can cause embarrassment, but also can have a
significant impact on the sufferer's quality of life. According to the American
Foundation for Urologic Diseases, at least 16% of the population over the age of
40 have chronic and troublesome symptoms of an overactive bladder. Although
prevalence increases with age, the problem affects people of all ages, a large
number of whom are under 65. As many as 30 to 50% of women over 50 are estimated
to suffer from the condition. In many patients, a specific cause for the
symptoms cannot be identified.

The acquisition further strengthens Novartis' already robust primary care and
women's health portfolio. Novartis' pharmaceutical business has been growing
rapidly, particularly in the US, where, according to IMS data, the company was
the fastest growing top ten pharmaceutical company. Novartis' strategy includes
a critical focus on the US market, and competitive investments in key growth
drivers to accelerate profitable growth. Adding Enablex to the primary care
portfolio will further reinforce Novartis position, especially in the US, which
currently represents 70% of the global overactive bladder market.


This release contains certain implied "forward-looking statements". These
statements reflect the current views of Novartis with respect to future events
and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Many factors
could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Novartis to be
materially different from any future results, performances or achievements that
may be expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including,
without limitation, the failure to obtain registration for Enablex for desired
indications, the inability to successfully bring the product to market,
competition, the ability to maintain patent protection and other similar risks
included in the Annual Report of Novartis AG on Form 20-F on file with the US -
Securities and Exchange Commission.

Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) is a world leader in pharmaceuticals and consumer
health. In 2002, the Group's businesses achieved sales of CHF 32.4 billion (USD
20.9 billion) and a net income of CHF 7.3 billion (USD 4.7 billion). The Group
invested approximately CHF 4.3 billion (USD 2.8 billion) in R&D. Headquartered
in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ about 72 900 people and
operate in over 140 countries around the world. For further information please

                                      # # #



         Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934,
Novartis AG has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the
undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.

                                            NOVARTIS AG

Date:  March 18, 2003                By:  /s/ MALCOLM CHEETHAM

                                            Name:  Malcolm Cheetham
                                            Title: Head Group Financial
                                                   Reporting and Accounting