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 rflinn@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.