Forest Laboratories Chairman, President and CEO Howard Solomon plans to vigorously fight efforts by the federal government to essentially remove him from office by declaring him ineligible to participate in federal healthcare programs.
Forest Labs chief to fight federal ban
In September 2010, Forest agreed to plead guilty to a felony obstruction of justice charge and two misdemeanor violations of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act. Forest paid $164 million in criminal fines and another $149 million to settle related civil claims over allegations that the firm distributed an unapproved new drug and illegally promoted another drug for off-label use in treating children and adolescents.
On Wednesday, Forest Laboratories received notice that HHS' inspector general's office intends to exclude Solomon from taking part in federal healthcare programs as an executive, which would force him to step down from the firm. Solomon has 30 days to respond.
Forest shot back in a news release, saying the company would fight the rare attempt to exclude Solomon, who according to the firm was never accused directly of wrongdoing during the six-year investigation that led to last year's pleas and settlements.
Mary Riordan, senior counsel for HHS' inspector general's office, said in an interview with Modern Healthcare last year that government officials were going to begin excluding from Medicare executives from firms that commit fraud because of a concern that having companies pay fines and plead to crimes rather the executives themselves was not discouraging fraud.
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