Japanese doctor testifies on inflating placebo counts in Diovan trials

A Japanese physician testified in a case involving Novartis Pharma K.K. and its Diovan (valsartan) drug for high blood pressure that he falsified a report while participating in clinical trials for marketing approval, sources said.

The Japan News said the doctor testified that he inflated the number of placebo participants in a trial involving hospital data gathered on 300 patients. The participants not given Diovan supposedly also developed diseases.

The doctor and defendant in the case brought by Tokyo prosecutors was a 64-year-old former employer of the Novartis subsidiary, the newspaper said. In addition to his case, several other trial participants at three institutions where the studies were conducted also may have falsified data.

In all, the falsified data made it appear that Diovan was more effective than other blood-pressure treatments.

In February, Novartis ($NVS) was ordered to suspend its operations in Japan for 15 days because of the scandal.

- here's the story from The Japan News