ZURICH, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Novartis's shift into high-tech drugs won praise for giving new options to patients but criticism for prices that may run into the millions of dollars as the Swiss drugmaker faced investors at its annual general meeting on Thursday.
Swiss shareholder group Actares, which owns a small percentage of Novartis shares, said insurance systems are being "taken hostage" by high prices for life-saving drugs. Chief Executive Vas Narasimhan said he seeks to price medicines based on the value they provide and that the company needs a fair return to continue research.
Shareholders were also due to vote on Novartis's planned spin-off of its Alcon eyecare unit. (Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Michael Shields)