Five high-ranking current and former officials with TAP Pharmaceutical Products, Lake Forest, Ill., and a former sales representative were charged with defrauding Medicare by the U.S. attorney's office in Boston. The story was first reported last night on Modern Healthcare's Web site. TAP last year paid $884 million to resolve allegations related to the marketing of its prostate-cancer treatment Lupron in the largest U.S. healthcare fraud settlement to date; an investigation of individuals is continuing. In the latest indictments, Don Meek, TAP's vice president of sales; Eric Otterbein, director of sales training; Mark Smith, Midwest district sales manager; and Rita Jokiaho, Massachusetts district sales manager, were charged with illegally offering inducements to physicians to prescribe Lupron. Also charged were Don Patton, former vice president of sales, and Carey Smith, a former hospital sales accounts manager. The inducements allegedly included money in the form of phony educational grants and free golf trips, bar tabs and medical equipment. The current employees have been placed on administrative leaves of absence pending resolution of the charges, TAP said. Six other current and former TAP managers, including the former president of Takeda Chemical Industries of Japan's U.S. subsidiary, already have been indicted for conspiracy to pay kickbacks, among other charges. -- by Mark Taylor
More current, former TAP officials indicted
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