Mitsubishi Tanabe to Recall Drugs as Factory Probed

Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp. said it will recall 2 million shots of three injected drugs made at a factory in Japan after an employee failed to test the medicines properly to ensure they met quality controls.

Mitsubishi Tanabe said it hasn’t received any reports of health issues resulting from the affected drugs. The recall starts today, the Osaka, western Japan-based company said in a statement.

Shares of Mitsubishi Tanabe fell as much as 7.4 percent after the Asahi newspaper reported earlier today that the company sold drugs without proper testing. The recall would be at least the second in two years for the drugmaker, which removed a blood-plasma product from the market in March 2009 because of manipulated data.

“We will investigate the incident thoroughly to resolve the problem, and make it our top priority to regain the public’s confidence,” President Michihiro Tsuchiya said at a briefing in Tokyo, where he apologized for the quality-control failure.

A male employee in his 40s at a plant in Ashikaga city, north of Tokyo, failed to complete some quality-control tests, Takashi Tanaka, head of Mitsubishi Tanabe’s factory unit, said at the briefing. The worker has been replaced and production at the factory continues, he said.

Mitsubishi Tanabe lost 5.5 percent to 1,326 yen at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo trading, the most since Nov. 12, 2009. About 6.3 million shares were traded, more than five times the daily average in the past year.

Arthritis Treatment

The drugs being recalled are Liple, used to unblock blood vessels, Limethason for rheumatoid arthritis, and Pazucross, an antibacterial medicine, Mitsubishi Tanabe said.

The medicines generate combined annual revenue of 9.6 billion yen ($117 million), said the company, whose sales fell 2.4 percent to 404.7 billion yen in the year ended March 31.

Mitsubishi Tanabe said it will provide the impact on its earnings as soon as possible. The drugmaker is scheduled to report results for the third quarter ended Dec. 31 on Jan. 28.

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