Japan’s Health Ministry has filed a criminal complaint against Novartis Pharma, alleging exaggerated advertising for the heart condition and blood-pressure lowering drug Diovan.
Novartis Pharma K.K., the local unit of Swiss pharmaceutical group Novartis AG, issued an apology on Thursday for “troubles and concerns” over the advertising.
The ads cited clinical studies conducted in Japan that included false data.
The Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry said in a notice it suspects Novartis continued using ads citing the studies after learning data in them had been manipulated. Novartis has denied it was aware of the problem, and says studies have confirmed the safety and effectiveness of the drug.
The company says it is cooperating with authorities.
Diovan, also known as valsartan, is sold around the world.