Despite a much-trumpeted interest in trying to force the removal of healthcare company executives after incidents of fraud, HHS' office of the inspector general has dropped its investigation into Howard Solomon, president, CEO and chairman of Forest Laboratories.
HHS ends probe of Forest Labs CEO
The New York-based pharmaceutical corporation pleaded guilty in March to misbranding and illegally distributing drugs and obstructing an inspection by the Food and Drug Administration, eventually paying $313 million in criminal and civil settlements related to the schemes.
The corporation's criminal plea and related fines came just five months after the federal inspector's office released revamped guidance (PDF) for how it intended to use its authority to exclude top executives of fraud-prone healthcare firms from working for companies that receive Medicare.
In particular, the October 2010 document noted that the agency only has to find that an executive should have known about the fraud, not that he or she did know about it, in order to exclude them from Medicare participation.
In April 2011, the inspector general's office revealed it had opened a case against Solomon. Forest Laboratories publicly defended Solomon and vowed to fight the investigation, and on Aug. 5 the OIG notified Solomon that it was dropping the case after reviewing more information and meeting with him personally.
“We are gratified by the HHS-OIG's determination that an exclusion of Mr. Solomon is unwarranted,” Kenneth Goodman, presiding director at Forest, said in a written statement.
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