Corporate Compliance

Pharma executives excluded from government programs

Healthcare Auditing Weekly, January 27, 2009

Three former executives of Purdue Frederick, a pharmaceutical company that manufacturers and distributes OxyContin, have been stripped of their participation privileges in all federal healthcare programs for the next 15 years.
According to a press release from the OIG, Michael Friedman, Chief Operating Officer and former Chief Executive Officer; Paul Goldenheim, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer; and Howard Udell, General Counsel all pleaded guilty in 2007 to misdemeanor misbranding of OxyContin. Purdue Frederick also pleaded guilty to felony misbranding of OxyContin, and has been banned from federal healthcare programs for 25 years. That exclusion is part of a global resolution between the U.S., Purdue Frederick, and Purdue Pharma, a related company. The resolution also includes a restitution fine of $600 million for both companies.
Administrative Law Judge Carolyn Cozad Hughes affirmed the 15-year exclusion for the three former executives, saying they had the responsibility and authority to “prevent or correct” Purdue Frederick’s misbranding but “failed to do so,” according to the press release. Hughes added that the executives’ offenses caused “astronomical” costs to government programs and “endangered the health and safety of program beneficiaries and others.”


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