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In a modest victory for Novartis, a Japanese court decided the drug maker and a former employee were not guilty of violating a law that bans fraudulent and exaggerated advertising claims in connection with a research paper about the Diovan heart drug. A Novartis spokesman confirmed the ruling.

The decision stems from an episode in 2014 when the company was accused of altering data in a study in order to make the drug appear better than rival medicines. The research was conducted by several Japanese universities, some of which determined results were falsified.

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