News Feature | March 5, 2014

Takeda Pharmaceutical Acknowledges "Inappropriate" Drug Marketing

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By Marcus Johnson

Takeda Pharmaceutical’s CEO, Tasuchika Hasegawa, has admitted that his company marketed blood pressure drug Blopress in a manner that didn’t align with Japanese law. There had also been allegations that the company had falsified research data during clinical trials, but Hasegawa denied that claim. The Japanese health ministry stated last week that they would investigate the company after a Japanese doctor claimed that Takeda’s advertisements did not match research from clinical trials.

Hasegawa released a statement at the beginning of a news conference on Monday. “We deeply regret and apologize for the fact that our promotional activities were partially inappropriate," Hasegawa said. “Our company hasn't manipulated or fabricated clinical research data.” The CEO also stated that the company did not have any conflicts of interest and they will look into finding an outside company to investigate why the advertisement was released.

Hasegawa ended the news conference abruptly after reporters asked more specific questions about the company’s advertising. Reports have surfaced that the company advertised that Blopress is more effective at lowering a patient’s blood pressure than Pfizer drug Norvasc (amlodipine). Clinical studies have shown that there is no discernable difference between the drugs’ effectiveness.

The Takeda Pharmaceuticals admission of wrongdoing is critical because Japan had a major falsification of data scandal in the past year. Japanese universities studying Novartis’ heart treatment found that data from clinical research had been falsified, leading to a criminal investigation of Novartis to determine if they had violated Japanese law.

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