June 13, 2014 — The Wall Street Journal reports that Novartis has admitted that staff in Japan destroyed evidence on reports of side effects associated with 10 different drugs. At least 10,000 reports were never filed.
Drugs involved in the investigation:
- Gleevec – Leukemia treatment
- Tasigna – Leukemia treatment
- Xolair – Asthma treatment
- Exelon – Alzheimer’s disease patch
- Neoral – Immunosuppressive drug for organ transplants
Prosecutors in Toyko raided that Japanese unit of Novartis on suspicion of manipulating data to promote Diovan, the company’s best-selling blood pressure drug. The WSJ said that some staff went so far as to shred documents and delete online files to hide evidence. Furthermore, some salespeople helped doctors rate the severity of side effects.
Yesterday, authorities in Japan arrested a former employee who falsified research data while working at Novartis in 2010 and 2011, altering data connected to Diovan. According to the WSJ:
“The research on Diovan was conducted by several Japanese universities, some of which later found that the results had been falsified. Novartis has acknowledged a conflict of interest in the studies since it knew that Mr. Shirahashi took part without acknowledging his affiliation in published papers.”
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