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Ex-Novartis employee found not guilty of deceitful drug advertising

A Tokyo court has ruled finding ex-Novartis employee Nobuo Shirahashi and the company’s Tokyo-based sales arm Novartis Pharma KK not guilty of violating a pharmaceutical affairs law against deceitful drug advertising, in this case for blood pressure drug Diovan.

Novartis sales below forecast in ‘transformative’ year

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Novartis’ fourth quarter sales have faded slightly as growth in pharmaceuticals is beaten back by generic competition, and the firm continues with its plethora of divestment deals.

Overall sales in Q4 were $14.6 billion, a slight decrease of 2% from the same period last year. Novartis chief executive Joseph Jimenez remains upbeat however, adding: “I’m confident that we are positioned for future success.”

Novartis heart drug sees stellar results

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Novartis’ new heart pill has produced stellar results in helping patients with heart failure live longer, making it the first treatment to do so in decades.

The experimental treatment, known at LCZ696, cut the risk of both cardiovascular death and admissions to hospital by a fifth when compared to the ageing ACE-inhibitor enalapril.

The new clinical trials results were showcased at this year’s European Society of Cardiology in Barcelona over the weekend.

Novartis faces data fraud charges in Japan

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Novartis is facing criminal charges in Japan over the alleged falsifying of data for its once big-selling heart drug Diovan.

The Swiss firm is to be charged by Japanese authorities for failing to oversee the work of its ex-employee Nobuo Shirahashi, Tokyo prosecutors announced this week.

The former Novartis employee is accused of providing false data to researchers whose findings were used to promote Diovan (valsartan).

Ranbaxy’s Diovan copycat approved in US

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Ranbaxy has won approval for its copycat form of Novartis’ blockbuster blood pressure drug Diovan, as the Swiss firm finally braces itself for generic erosion in the US.

Novartis actually lost its patent rights to Diovan (valsartan) in the US more than a year and a half ago, but has avoided generic competition because of multiple production quality control problems at Ranbaxy.

Police raid Novartis Tokyo office

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Authorities in Japan have raided the premises of Novartis’ Tokyo operation as part of an ongoing investigation into the promotion of Diovan, according to media reports.

The Swiss firm is under pressure in the country where, last September, it apologised to patients over the alleged manipulation of data.

Novartis may axe 1,000 jobs in Diovan wake

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Novartis will shut down a plant in New York State that made heart drug Diovan and malaria treatment Coartem as it looks to help off-set a major decline in revenue.

The closing of the Swiss firm’s factory will affect 525 jobs said Eric Althoff, a spokesman for the company speaking to Bloomberg Industries.

Novartis may transfer some employees to other locations however, he added, meaning not all the jobs could be under threat.

Novartis faces Japan probe

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Novartis is under pressure in Japan where authorities are looking at the way the Swiss firm promoted its blood pressure drug Diovan.

Last September, the Swiss manufacturer apologised to patients in Japan over the alleged manipulation of data.

Novartis sees profit slip

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Novartis saw generic competition erode profit in the third quarter of the year, although sales across the group actually rose compared to the previous year.

Net profit was down 5% to $2.3 billion between July and September, even though sales were up 4% to $14.3 billion.

Pharma turnover for the three months was more or less static, rising just 1% to $7.9 billion - and operating income fell 10% to $2.3 billion.

Diovan trials may have been run by Novartis staff

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Several post-marketing clinical trials of the blockbuster blood pressure drug Diovan may have been run by employees of the drug’s manufacturer Novartis.

While the firm is not naming the employees or the trials by name, one is believed to relate to the cardiologist Hiroaki Matsubara, a former Kyoto Prefectural University researcher, who has had a number of his Diovan studies retracted in Japan, the US and Europe.

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