Almost a dozen major pharmaceutical companies were involved in an Alzheimer’s drug research project, J-ADNI, that Japan is now claiming used falsified data. The Japanese government filed a criminal complaint against pharmaceutical heavyweight Novartis. The criminal complaint was unrelated to an Alzheimer’s study, but the activity of Japan’s health ministry was indicative of their aggressiveness in fighting against drug companies breaking sanctioned regulations.
The government invested nearly $28 million of its own money in order to produce the study, which had a goal of making Alzheimer’s disease diagnoses easier and more accurate. Drug companies such as Takeda Pharmaceutical, Astellas Pharma, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Pfizer were involved in the research project, along with almost 40 different medical centers and organizations. Norihisa Tamura, the current health minister of Japan, said that the falsification of health data is a very serious issue, “If there really has been data falsification, that would be a grave problem, so we are investigating carefully.” Another health ministry official said the government was preparing an investigation team to delve further into the results of the study.
If the falsification of research for the Alzheimer’s project is true, the result could be damaged reputations for the major pharmaceutical companies involved. Already, some of the companies involved in the study are distancing themselves from the project. A spokesman for Pfizer said that the company only helped by financing the research, but did not supply any scientists or researchers to review the data. If data is found to have been falsified, it could make it difficult for those pharmaceutical companies involved to work with the Japanese government on other projects and might prompt others to investigate state sponsored studies.