Novartis Pharma K.K. said Thursday its president Yoshiyasu Ninomiya and two other top executives have resigned to take responsibility for its employees' inappropriate involvement in a clinical study led by medical doctors.
The Japanese sales arm of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis said it appointed new president Dirk Kosche and other executives to replace the top management.
At a press conference in Tokyo, David Epstein, president of Novartis, apologized to patients, their families and medical doctors over the scandal involving the firm.
The firm attributed the top management reshuffle to its employees' questionable involvement in the clinical study of the Tasigna leukemia drug, led by the University of Tokyo, as well as its alleged use of exaggerated advertising for the Diovan blood pressure drug.
Novartis also said it launched an investigation in February into all doctor-led studies involving the firm since 2011, adding that it will complete the probe by this summer and release the results, while suspending its support for studies currently under way.
An outside investigative committee said Wednesday that Novartis employees could have violated relevant laws over the clinical study of the Tasigna drug. The firm is also under investigation by prosecutors over the alleged use of exaggerated advertising for the Diovan drug.