Pharmalot – April 25, 2011
By Ed Silverman
The trial of former GlaxoSmithKline lawyer Lauren Stevens gets under way this week and federal prosecutors hope to force a Glaxo exec to testify, according to documents filed in federal court last week. The feds are trying to compel James Millar, a vp of strategic pricing, contracting and marketing to take the stand in their quest to convict Stevens of obstruction of justice.
Stevens, you may recall, was first indicted last November for obstructing an FDA probe into off-label marketing of the Wellbutrin SR antidepressant and making false statements to the agency. More recently, the indictment was tossed, because prosecutors incorrectly portrayed her defense to a grand jury. However, they subsequently issued another indictment earlier this month (back story).
The feds want Millar to be compeled to testify because his testimony “may be necessary to the public interest.” However, prosecutors expect that he would refuse to testify or otherwise provide any info on the basis of his privilege against self-incrimination, according to court documents (read this). As of this morning, the order compelling his testimony has not been filed with the court.
As indicated previously, the trial threatens to evolve into a spectacle where Glaxo execs and Glaxo lawyers – notably, the King & Spalding law firm that frequently represents the drugmaker – turn the courtroom into a finger-pointing match among people who once labored on the same side of the pharmaceutical battlefield (see here).