Here’s Why Novartis’ Japanese Unit Was Raided

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Last month, the Japanese Health Ministry filed a complaint against Switzerland-based drugmaker Novartis AG’s (NYSE:NVS) Japan unit after the company used allegedly false data to advertise for its best-selling blood pressure drug, Diovan, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Reuters reports that prosecutors in Tokyo broke into the company’s offices in Japan on Wednesday as part of a criminal investigation of the company following charges that the drugmaker violated the law by releasing misleading advertisements.

The advertisements in question cited research which the Japanese Health Ministry says were manipulated to support the company’s claims regarding Diovan’s benefits; the studies were originally conducted by researchers at Japanese universities and were later found to have been falsified, possibly by a Novartis employee who participated in all of the studies without ever acknowledging his affiliation with company.

A spokesperson for Novartis’ Japanese unit declined to comment, although Novartis has said in a statement that it will “cooperate fully with the prosecutors’ investigation,” according to Reuters.

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