A dark side of a megapharma

For the past few years, Novartis Pharma in Japan has had a project proceeded. It was a campaign for their new antihypertensive drug. They have plotted a false study that was intended to show the effects of the drug, that is, not only antihypertension but also multiple organ protection effects. They have bribed some researchers in the related medicine in Japan. Shamefully enough, some of them were the leaders in the clinical medicine. A person in Novartis Pharma in Japan has manupilated the statistics of the data in order to obtain the result desirable to them. They have utilized that result for the advertisement of that drug. This campaign has been quite successful in the market here. But it was not so long before this deceit has become public. The company is accused of this crime.

In the beginning of this month, the president of the company in Switzerland has commented about this event. He said that the japanese division of the company has given the medical doctors priority to the patients. It is different from the business ethics in Europe and America. It should, as he said, be reformed. He claims it is a problem peculiar to Japan and the medical system here .

Is he right? I could hardly believe so.

Smiling grimly, I should point out that the most of doctors in Japan have been swindled by Novartis Pharma and it was japanese doctors who questioned the study of the drug. It was very few doctors who took part in this swindle plotted by Novartis Pharma.

In addition, even more importantly, there have recently been a couple of bribery cases by Novartis Pharma made public in the world. One is in China and the other in the USA. This clearly shows it was not a peculiar case attributable to the system in Japan. But it is the characteristic of Novartis Pharma itself. It is an business ethic issue of Novartis Pharma as a global mega pharma.

Novartis Pharma was born as a result of merger of two old and big pharmaceautical companies, Ciba geigy and Sandoz both in Switerland. in 1996. It is a typical global company which is told to have become the biggest pharmaceutical company in the world by 2012.

As global companies always do, Novartis Pharma must have tried to maximize their profit from their business and to purchase the other pharmaceutical companies. It is often easier and even cheaper for them to absorb the others with certain technologies or certain candidates for new drug. Such business tactics will yield more profit. Then an automatic movement for profit will go on. It is a phase of capitalistic world which should not be blamed at all. But Novartis Pharma might have forgotten the glorious history as pharmaceutical company and might have started bribery for a tactics to win in the globalism of the business. They were against the business ethics all over the world.

What the president commented on his company's disgraceful scandal may mean that the event is the problem of Novartis Pharma itself. It is not our system but Novartis Pharma that should be reformed.

I could not help seeing the dark side of the globalism which is going on in the world.


  1. Shin, thank you for posting this information. I had not read about this in the US. It is very disturbing that the big pharma companies use their money this way. I am concerned about Pfizer as they are looking to purchase the AstraZenica company.

    By the way, the other day on NHK TV, I saw a very interesting story about the "World Doctors' Orchestra." This is composed of doctors from all over the globe who were raising money for the tsunami victims. I wondered if you saw them while they were in Japan.

    I am looking forward to our next QSO.

    161, Dennis W0JX

    1. Dennis,

      No, I have not watched that program yet. I will look for that in the archive.

      Pharmaceutical companies are motivated to globalize themselves. It might give them much more benefits. It is not bad. But if globalization makes any moral hazard with them, it should be severely criticized. I am afraid the developing countries are troubled with global mega pharamas regarding the drug against HIV or the vaccines.

      Medical services should not be totally governed by the market economy. For when life is concerned in some case, the rule of market won't be applied to it. In such a case, we behave not based on the economical rationality. Medical services should remain a field of social capital. The megapharma should learn of this.