Monday, June 06, 2011

Scott Harkonen, once CEO of InterMune, sentenced for misleading press release

In the pharma biz, doctors can prescribe drugs off-label — for uses other than those for which they are approved — but drug companies are prohibited from promoting off-label use. We've already had a patent case which revolved around off-label uses.

In April 2011, Scott Harkonen, once CEO of InterMune, was fined $20,000 and sentenced to six months of home confinement in connection to a misleading 2002 company press release about the drug Actimmune. The judge was Judge Marilyn Hall Patel in ND Ca. The charge was wire fraud, and prosecutors wanted a 10 year sentence, but Judge Patel noted the government had “no evidence whatsoever that the press release had caused any loss or any harm to anyone.”

There could be a message here for CEOs of small companies issuing inaccurate press releases.


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