Tokyo Prosecutors Raid Novartis Pharma Over Drug Ads
TOKYO, Feb. 19 (Kyodo) — Tokyo prosecutors raided Novartis Pharma K.K. on Wednesday over its alleged use of exaggerated advertising for a blood pressure-lowering drug, following a criminal complaint filed by the health ministry last month.
The ministry complained that the ads for the Diovan drug cited clinical study reports by two Japanese universities that contained false data and concluded the drug was more effective than others for reducing the risk of cerebral stroke and angina.
The ministry's investigation panel in a report last September said Novartis Pharma's use of the falsified reports for ads could amount to exaggerated ads banned under the pharmaceutical affairs law.
A violator of the law could face imprisonment of up to two years or a fine of up to 2 million yen.
The Japanese sales arm of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis contributed some 570 million yen to the Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine and the Tokyo-based Jikei University School of Medicine that conducted the clinical studies from 2002. A then Novartis Pharma employee participated in the studies.