Retractions?! Conflicts?! Novartis AG Probes Diovan Research

Published: May 03, 2013

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The scandal over clinical trials generated by Japanese researchers for the Diovan blood pressure drug sold by Novartis has now widened. The drugmaker has now acknowledged publicly for the first time that an investigation is under way amid revelations that a Novartis employee had worked on a trial without disclosing a conflict of interest. The controversy erupted after several papers co-authored by Hiroaki Matsurbara, formerly of Kyoto Prefectural University (see photo), were retracted. These included the main publication of the Kyoto Heart study, which was published in the European Medical Journal in 2009 and claimed Diovan reduced the risk of heart attacks and strokes, which Novartis used in its promotions. The study helped Diovan become a huge seller in Japan. Sales reached $5.6 billion worldwide in 2011 before generics became available.

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