Last week, Japanese prosecutors raided the local offices of Swiss company, Novartis pharmaceuticals, after the Japanese health ministry filed a criminal complaint against the firm.
Novartis pharmaceuticals has been under investigation for allegedly manipulating advertising data for the blood pressure drug, Diovan.
Under Japan’s pharmaceutical law, anyone that is found guilty of exaggerated advertising of any drug may face up to 2 years in prison, a fine of up to two million yen (19,600), or both.
About Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Created in 1996, Novartis, a Swiss pharmaceutical company, is a world leader in providing healthcare solutions.
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation researches, develops, manufactures, and markets prescription drugs used to treat a variety of conditions and diseases.
According to Novartis’s website they are the highest-ranked pharmaceutical and healthcare companies by sales in the world.
However, given the recent investigation regarding the rigged data in advertising for a blood pressure medication, Novartis is worried about the fallout’s effects on its global reputation.
The Data Scandal
This data scandal has been going on since evidence surfaced months ago. The Jikei University School of Medicine, in Japan, retracted the Diovan research published in the Lancet after determining it was fabricated.
The advertising in question was based on studies suggesting that Diovan could prevent strokes and angina.
A Novartis spokesperson declined to comment on the situation saying, “We cannot say anything related to the investigation, but we are taking this situation extremely serious,” he went on to say, “we will continue to fully cooperate with authorities.”
Japanese media reported that Novartis mentioned the questionable data supporting Diovan as preventive tool, about 700 times in ads since 2006.
Novartis was warned by Japanese authorities that they could face criminal penalties for its Diovan promotions.
However, Novartis insists the company had no knowledge of the wrongdoing and is cooperating with the investigation.