Takeda Pharmaceutical Admits to Improper Marketing

The president of Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. just acknowledged that the firm engaged in what has been described as so-called “inappropriate expressions” in the marketing of one of its blood pressure medications.

Yasuchika Hasegawa, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. president, recently announced in a news conference in Tokyo that the firm used what he described as “inappropriate expressions” in the way in which it promoted one of its drugs used in the treatment of high blood pressure, according to a The Wall Street Journal report. Mr. Hasegawa also said that while “inappropriate expressions” were used, his company did not alter with research data.

The drug maker’s public admission came after a Japanese health ministry announcement was made indicating that it would be investigating questions that had been asked by a doctor in Japan who said that a graph used in the drug’s marketing did not seem to accurately reflect clinical study results, The Journal reported.

“We deeply regret and apologize for the fact that our promotional activities were partially inappropriate,” Takeda CEO Yasuchika Hasegawa said at the news conference. “Our company hasn’t manipulated or fabricated clinical research data,” he added, according to The Journal.

The issue involves a clinical trial that was conducted from 2001 to 2006 that compared the effects of two hypertension medications: Takeda’s Blopress (candesartan) and a drug manufactured by Pfizer Inc., Norvasc (amlodipine). The news conference was called rather quickly following questions that Takeda Pharmaceuticals appeared to be marketing Blopress as providing increased efficacy over Norvasc, despite that the clinical trial result did not reveal a difference between the two drugs, according to The Journal report.

Takeda officials stated that they used a graph presented during a 2006 academic conference and not the graph that included clinical trial results that had been published in the February 2008 issue of the United States medical journal, Hypertension, according to The Journal. The 2008 graph considered account differences in curves that were used to express the drugs’ effects.

Takeda also admitted that it used verbal expressions in the way in which its advertising could lead to potential misunderstandings regarding Takeda’s drug’s efficacy and as Takeda’s drug being more efficacious when compared to the Pfizer medication, The Journal wrote.

Mr. Hasegawa stated that Takeda Pharmaceuticals had no access to research data; however, the drug maker intends on putting a third-party panel into place to understand why the firm’s marketing was conducted improperly, according to The Journal.

Takeda has been involved in litigation involving its Type II diabetes drug, Actos, over allegations that Takeda hid risks concerning bladder cancer from physicians and patients. Litigation also involves accusations that, because Takeda concealed these risks, consumers were not appropriately warned and continued to take the drug.

Various studies have tied the use of Actos to increased risks of developing bladder cancer at least as far back as 2005.

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