Japan prosecutors arrest ex-Novartis employee over data

Prosecutors on Wednesday arrested a former employee of the Japanese unit of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis for allegedly manipulating research data to exaggerate the benefits of a popular blood-pressure drug.

Nobuo Shirahashi, 63, was arrested for allegedly falsifying data in clinical studies that were then used to promote the blood-pressure drug Valsartan.

Prosecutors raided the offices of Novartis Pharma KK in Tokyo after a university said the data may be skewed.

The studies suggested the drug—sold under the name Diovan in Japan, and licensed for use in more than 100 countries—could help prevent strokes and angina.

The firm used data from the studies to market its , playing up its supposed additional benefits.

There is no suggestion that Diovan is ineffective in combating blood pressure problems.

The pharmaceutical giant's Japan unit has also been embroiled in another scandal in which it was alleged possible side effects of leukaemia treatments had not been properly disclosed.

In April, Novartis replaced top executives at its Japanese arm over the allegations.

Under Japan's law, anyone found guilty of exaggerating advertising can face up to two years in prison or a fine of as much as two million yen ($19,000).

Related Stories

Japan prosecutors raid Novartis over drug ad scandal

date Feb 19, 2014

Japanese prosecutors on Wednesday raided the offices of the local arm of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis over alleged exaggerated advertising for a popular blood-pressure drug, local media said.

Japan files criminal complaint against Novartis arm

date Jan 09, 2014

Japan's health ministry on Thursday filed a criminal complaint against the local arm of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis over alleged exaggerated advertising for a popular blood-pressure drug, the company said.

Japan to file criminal complaint against Novartis (Update)

date Jan 07, 2014

Japan's health ministry plans to file a criminal complaint against the local arm of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis over alleged exaggerated advertising for a popular blood-pressure drug, an official said Wednesday.

Japan to seek criminal prosecution of Novartis

date Dec 18, 2013

Japan's health ministry intends to file a criminal complaint against the local arm of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis over alleged fabrication of drugs data, a report said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

US aims to cut antibiotic use

date 6 hours ago

US President Barack Obama on Friday rolled out plans to cut inappropriate antibiotic use by half, in an effort to tackle drug resistance.

Questions over value of new antibiotics to tackle resistance

date Mar 26, 2015

In the first installment of a new series, Peter Doshi, Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy and Associate Editor at The BMJ, asks why authorities are approving drugs with little evidence they d ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.