Novartis Under U.S. Investigation for Tekturna Marketing

Novartis AG (NOVN), Europe’s biggest drugmaker by sales, said U.S. prosecutors are investigating the company’s marketing of products including the hypertension medicine Tekturna.

A U.S. unit last year received a subpoena from federal prosecutors in Louisville, Kentucky, seeking documents on sales practices, including payments to health-care providers, for the drug and other medicines, Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis said yesterday in a regulatory filing.

Sales expectations for Tekturna, approved by U.S. regulators in 2007 and called Rasilez overseas, were halved last year by Novartis after the company scrapped a test of the medicine among patients with diabetes because some had more strokes and kidney complications. Revenue from the drug declined 31 percent to $383 million in 2012, Novartis reported yesterday.

Novartis also reported yesterday that in 2012 it received a civil demand for information from the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan regarding its interactions with specialty pharmaceuticals concerning products including the cancer medicine Gleevec and Gilenya, a pill for multiple sclerosis. The company also disclosed that U.S. prosecutors in Dallas are investigating its Alcon eye-care unit related to the export of products to Iran and other countries subject to trade sanctions.

The company said it’s cooperating with all the investigations. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Louisville couldn’t be reached after business hours for comment on the Tekturna investigation.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ryan Flinn in San Francisco at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at

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