TOKYO Oct 3 Novartis AG said on
Thursday it did not expect a scandal over the marketing of its
Diovan blood pressure drug in Japan to have a significant impact
on the company, but acknowledged sales of the drug had fallen.
"It is true that sales have declined somewhat," David
Epstein, the head of Novartis AG's pharmaceutical division, told
reporters when asked about the impact of a potential drop in
sales of the drug.
"Overall Diovan is a relatively small part of our portfolio,
given the breadth of the medicine that we have, so the impact
should not be significant," he said.
A Japanese health ministry panel this week called for the
ministry to investigate Novartis's Japanese unit, saying it may
have violated the law when it cited studies based on manipulated
data to promote Diovan.
Japan is an important market for Novartis, accounting for
around a quarter of Diovan's global sales before the scandal.