Swiss drugmaker Novartis said on Friday it was looking into a report that employees of is Japanese unit may have violated clinical trial protocol by handling data from a small independent study of one of its cancer drugs.
Employees of Novartis Pharma K.K. (NPKK) transferred some data from research centers to a Tokyo hospital when that data should have been sent directly without first passing through Novartis hands, according to a report by Japanese broadcaster NHK that was picked up by the Wall Street Journal.
"NPKK is currently investigating the allegations," Novartis said in a statement.
The data was from a not yet fully enrolled 55-patient trial testing the Novartis cancer drug Tasigna, the company said.
"Novartis Pharma K.K. is aware of the media report regarding a small investigator-initiated clinical study ... conducted to assess side effects in patients with chronic myelocytic leukemia," Novartis said in a statement.
"NPKK has conducted employee trainings on proper protocol related to investigator-initiated clinical studies and believes that any involvement of our medical representatives in investigator-initiated clinical studies is inappropriate."
The University of Tokyo Hospital said it was re-examining test results it had received but had uncovered no evidence that Novartis employees had manipulated any of the data during the transfers, according to the Wall Street Journal report.