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Novartis false ad complaint planned

Kyodo

The health ministry is planning to file a criminal complaint against Novartis Pharma K.K. over alleged use of false advertising for its Diovan blood pressure-lowering drug, officials said Wednesday.

Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine and Tokyo-based Jikei University School of Medicine have found that their clinical study reports, which concluded that the drug was useful for reducing the risk of cerebral stroke and angina, included falsified data.

The Japanese sales unit of Swiss pharmaceutical group Novartis said it cited these reports about 700 times in advertisements in medical journals and leaflets since 2006.

In an interim report in September, a health ministry panel said the company’s use of these reports for promoting Diovan sales could amount to false advertising banned under the pharmaceutical affairs law.