A former regional account manager for Illinois-based drug maker TAP Pharmaceutical Products was sentenced to six months in prison for lying to a federal grand jury.
The grand jury indicted more than a dozen current and former TAP employees, 11 of whom are on trial for allegedly paying bribes and kickbacks to doctors in order to get them to prescribe the company's drugs.
Joanne Richardson, 37, of Tyngsboro, Mass., was convicted in January of making false declarations to a grand jury but acquitted on an obstruction of justice charge.
U.S. District Judge William Young also sentenced her Thursday to four months of house arrest after her release and three years of supervised release. He fined her $3,000.
Richardson was responsible for TAP's sales to the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Mass. In 1997, she was involved in negotiations with the hospital's pharmacy director and the chief of urology to sell the prostate drug Lupron.
Hospital officials told Richardson that a company selling a competing drug had offered to sell their drug to Lahey for less. Richardson and others at Lake Forest, Ill.-based TAP offered to give Lahey off-contract price reductions and "education" and "research" grants of up to $50,000 per year.
Richardson denied the off-contract price reductions before a federal grand jury twice in 2000, prosecutors said.
TAP Pharmaceuticals pleaded guilty in 2001 and paid more than $800 million in fines and civil settlements.
The 11 of its employees on trial in federal court are charged with healthcare fraud and illegal marketing practices. Another TAP employee and four doctors pleaded guilty to charges related to the investigation.