Updated on 10 January 2014
Japan's health ministry lodged the complaint against Novartis after allegations of skewed clinical trial data
Singapore: Japan's health ministry has lodged a criminal complaint against the local wing of the leading Swiss drug maker Novartis over alleged exaggerated advertising for a popular blood-pressure drug.
The company made the announcement of this complaint in a statement on its website. The statement explained, "Today a criminal complaint was filed by the health, labour and welfare ministry against us over doctor-led clinical research on Diovan for alleged exaggerated advertising banned under the pharmaceutical law."
The ministry is said to have lodged this complaint against Novartis Pharma KK following months of scandal after a university said the data in clinical studies might have been skewed to promote blood-pressure drug Diovan, which is also known as Valsartan.
The company's statement added, "We apologize deeply for causing tremendous worries and trouble to patients, their families, medical workers and the public. We take this incident extremely gravely and will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities."
The incident that stirred up controversy late last year had an employee of the world's second largest drug making company hiding his affiliation during a medical study into the effects of the drug. Reports further revealed that the resulting studies suggested the drug, which is licensed for use in more than 100 countries, had some additional preventative effect on strokes and angina. The firm used data from the studies to market its drug, playing up its supposed additional benefits.