It was a gut feeling and common sense that made Dr. Iwao Kuwajima question a drug for high blood pressure that just about every other doctor in his field was excited about in the 2000s.

Kuwajima, now 72, was the first doctor in the nation to sound the alarm about the hype surrounding Diovan, a hypertension drug marketed with huge fanfare by Novartis in 2000. He questioned the research published in the mid-2000s to early 2010s that purportedly demonstrated the significant advantage of the drug to prevent heart disease and stroke over other drugs. Such favorable "evidence" was widely used by the drugmaker to promote Diovan.

Kuwajima's loud and persistent questioning prompted inquiries by other researchers and institutions, eventually exposing a massive tampering of data cited in the research.