TOKYO, July 1 Tokyo prosecutors said on Tuesday
they will charge the Japanese unit of Novartis AG and
a former employee in connection with allegations of data
manipulation in promoting its best-selling blood pressure drug
The prosecutors office said in a statement that it had
decided to arrest Nobuo Shiraishi on allegations he gave false
data to researchers whose work was used for advertising.
Shiraishi was initially detained in June.
The prosecutor also said that Novartis Pharma KK, the Swiss
drugmaker's wholly owned local subsidiary, will be charged in
connection with the case under a provision that alleges
responsibility for failing to oversee an employee.
Novartis said it was cooperating with an ongoing
investigation by the Japanese authorities and had taken
corrective measures, including replacing senior management of
its Japan subsidiary.
"Novartis and NPKK have already undertaken decisive action
to address problems with the company's Investigator-Initiated
Trial (IIT) research programmes in Japan," David Epstein, the
company's global division head, said in a statement.
"We are committed to changing the culture at Novartis Pharma
KK and demonstrating ethical leadership among pharmaceutical
companies in Japan," he added.
Any individual found guilty of exaggerated advertising of
drugs in Japan can be punished with up to two years in prison or
a fine of as much as 2 million yen ($19,700) or both.
($1 = 101.4600 Japanese Yen)
(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Edmund Klamann and Miral