Back in 2001, TAP Pharmaceuticals, a joint venture of Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) and Takeda Pharmaceuticals, pleaded guilty to illegal marketing and pricing of its prostate cancer drug Lupron, and agreed to a $875 million settlement. This was the largest health care fraud settlement to date, and the first in what has become a wave of federal prosecutions against drug companies for such fraud. (The settlement reimbursed government programs, but not consumers and private health plans. A $150 million national class action settlement, in which PAL was involved, provided reimbursement to those private parties.)
As reported today by BNA Health Care Daily, a TAP account manager who was convicted of perjury for testimony given to the grand jury in the government case, will serve 5 months in federal prison:
BOSTON–A former regional account manager for TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc., convicted of perjury in 2004, was sentenced Oct. 30 to five months in prison (United States v. Richardson, D. Mass., No. 02-cr-10211, sentencing 10/30/07).
Joanne Richardson, whose conviction was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in 2005 (No. 169 HCDR 9/1/05 a0b1j9h8c2), also was fined $3,000 and ordered to spend two years on supervised release, including five months of home detention, following her prison term.
Richardson had been found guilty in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts of making false declarations to a grand jury investigating TAP’s business practices.
Earlier this year, U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young threw out a sentence of six months in prison, imposed in 2004, finding that her attorney had ineffectively represented her by failing to note on appeal a change in the status of mandatory sentencing guidelines. The new sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr.
In seeking to avoid imprisonment, Richardson argued that her conviction was for lying about the conduct of coworkers who subsequently were acquitted, and that several notable public figures, including former vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis Libby, had avoided incarceration for similar offenses.
In October 2001, TAP pleaded guilty to illegally pricing and marketing its cancer drug, Lupron, as part of an $875 million settlement to resolve criminal and civil charges of wrongdoing. However, 11 former TAP sales executives and managers were found not guilty of defrauding the government and paying kickbacks after a three-month trial in July 2004.