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Japan to seek criminal prosecution of Swiss pharma giant Novartis: report

TOKYO--Japan's health ministry intends to file a criminal complaint against the local arm of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis over alleged fabrication of drugs data, a report said Wednesday.

Novartis Pharma KK has been under fire since a university said the data might have been skewed to promote a popular blood-pressure drug.

Health Minister Norihisa Tamura has characterized as “extremely regrettable” the incident in which an employee of the world's number two drug maker hid his affiliation during a medical study into the effects of Valsartan.

The ministry, which has since investigated the case, is now planning to file a criminal complaint seeking punishment not only for the company but also for individuals involved in the scandal, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported.

A ministry official in charge of the issue told AFP no firm decision had yet been made.

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