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Takeda Admits To Inappropriately Marketing Blood Pressure Medication, Blopress

Filed March 5th, 2014 Laurie

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company CEO Yasuchika Hasegawa admits that the drug maker used “inappropriate expressions” to promote its blood pressure medications. “We deeply regret and apologize for the fact that our promotional activities were partially inappropriate,” Hasegawa said at a news conference Monday, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

The Japanese health ministry said last week that it would look into questions raised by a Japanese doctor who said a graph used in one of Takeda’s advertisements didn’t match the results of a clinical study. Hasegawa said Takeda did not alter or fabricate any research data, WSJ reported.

The doctor noticed the discrepancy in the results of a clinical trial carried out from 2001 to 2006 to compare the effects of Takeda’s Blopress, or candesartan, and Pfizer Inc.’s Norvasc, or amlodipine. Hasegawa hastily scheduled a press conference after it appeared Takeda’s advertising suggested that Norvasc was more effective than Blopress at treating hypertension, despite the clinical trial result concluding the drug’s effects were virtually the same, according to WSJ.

Takeda explained the slight differences in the graph’s curves by saying the company used a graph that had been presented during an academic conference in 2006 instead of the graph that showed the results of the clinical trial that were published in the U.S. medical journal Hypertension in February 2008. The drug maker did admit, however, to using expressions in its ads for Norvasc that could sound like it was suggesting that its product was superior to Blopress, WSJ reported.

Hasawega said Takeda would arrange for a third-party panel to investigate why their advertisement wasn’t composed properly, according to WSJ.

Takeda is currently facing thousands of lawsuits in the U.S. filed by patients who allege the company failed to warn the public that its Actos Type 2 diabetes drug could cause bladder cancer in patients who take it for longer than one year, as well as heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, and eye problems.

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