About 48 of the more than 1,730 California doctors who received money from pharmaceutical companies over the past 21 months have been the subject of disciplinary action, a database compiled by the investigative news organization ProPublica found. ProPublica found that the seven drug companies paid $6.7 million to 290 doctors who faced disciplinary action or other regulatory sanctions in various states. San Francisco psychiatrist Karin Hastik, for example, took $168,658 in speaking and consulting fees from Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline since 2009. But in May, the Medical Board of California placed Hastik on probation for negligence, prescribing drugs without prior examination, and failing to keep adequate records about a patient she had been caring for since 2000. Hastik did not return calls for comment.
Former GSK counsel is the first target in government’s executive-liability crackdown. Could J&J be next? The US Department of Justice filed criminal charges last week against Lauren Stevens, a former VP and assistant general counsel at GlaxoSmithKline. Going after pharma execs marks a seismic shift in the government’s efforts to stem the tide of fraud and other illegal pharma marketing practices, which a raft of billion-dollar settlements have so far failed to end. Stevens is charged with obstruction of an investigation, concealment and falsification of documents, and making false statements to the FDA in its 2002 investigation of off-label promotion of the antidepressant Wellbutrin for weight loss, an indication for which it has never been approved but has shown some clinical benefit. The DoJ says that it has evidence, in the vast paper and electronic documentation turned over by GSK, showing that Stevens hid and otherwise misled the agency about some 1,000 instances of GSK-paid doctors promoting Wellbutrin for weight loss to other doctors.
The Big News in Pharma-land is that the DOJ is going after a former GSK lawyer/Exec for a myriad of crimes which could lead to a Fashionable Federal Prison Jump Suit & a very long stay at a Martha Steward Foo Foo Club Fed. The question still remains if this scum bag exec does go to trial and is convicted (or sings like a Canary); what effect this might have on the World Wide Pharmaceutical Drug Cartel Criminal business as usual model?
In a rare move, the Justice Department on Tuesday announced that it had charged a former vice president and top lawyer for the British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline with making false statements and obstructing a federal investigation into illegal marketing of the antidepressant Wellbutrin for weight loss. The indictment grabbed the attention of pharmaceutical executives who have been bracing for a long-promised government crackdown on company officials — rather than the corporations themselves — in drug-fraud cases that have resulted in billions of dollars in fines and payments. “This is absolutely precedent-setting — this is really going to set people’s hair on fire,” said Douglas B. Farquhar, a Washington lawyer who recently presided at a panel on law enforcement during a drug industry conference where federal officials warned they were focusing on individuals. “This is indicative of the F.D.A. and Justice strategy to go after the very top-ranking managing officials at regulated companies.”
Federal inspectors want to prevent drug-company executives from doing business with the U.S. government when their companies are convicted of Medicare fraud.
Under guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General, executives can be barred from contracting with federal health programs when they knew, or if the inspector general concludes they should have known, about fraud at their firms. The guidelines were posted Oct. 20 on the office’s Web site. Authorities have been spurred by large settlements, said Robert DeConti, chief of the administrative and civil remedies branch in the inspector general’s Office of Counsel. GlaxoSmithKline was ordered to pay $750 million on Oct. 26 for sale of defective drugs, and Pfizer agreed to pay $2.3 billion in September 2009 for fraudulent marketing of medicine.