Novartis ordered to pull advert for breast cancer drug

Novartis was criticised for making inflated claims about its drug, Femara Keystone Archive

The United States health authorities have ordered the Swiss healthcare giant, Novartis, to pull an advertisement from a medical journal because it fails to conform to advertising regulations.

This content was published on February 8, 2001 minutes

In a letter to Novartis, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said an advertisement for the recently approved hormone drug, "Femara", claimed the medication could treat illnesses for which it was not certified.

It said the advertisement, which appeared in the medical journal, "Oncology", failed to explain clearly the treatment for which "Femara" had been certified and that it did not contain the required information about side-effects.

It said this information had also been repeated in a press release of January 11 (web address below).

The FDA said Novartis had claimed that Femara was a pre-operative treatment for reducing the size of chest tumours. However, the drug has been certified only for first-line treatment for advanced breast cancer in post-menopausal women.

Femara was given the green light in the US last month, following a fast-track review by the US food and drug administration. It has since been approved in Europe.

Novartis would only say that it was preparing its response.

swissinfo with agencies

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?