New York Serono Sales Rep Charged With Bribing Physicians to Prescribe AIDS Wasting Drug Serostim
December 16, 2004
Federal prosecutors on Tuesday brought charges in U.S. District Court in Boston against a former sales director for Swiss biotechnology company Serono, alleging that he bribed doctors in New York City to write prescriptions for the company's AIDS-related drug Serostim, the Boston Globe reports (Kerber, Boston Globe, 12/16). Serostim, which is a growth hormone, is prescribed to HIV-positive patients to treat AIDS-related wasting. Many AIDS patients receive the drug through the state-federal Medicaid program, which includes the medication in its drug formularies (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/15). The charges brought against Adam Stupak, formerly a New York regional sales director for Serono, came after he agreed to cooperate with the U.S. attorney's office in an ongoing grand jury investigation into the company's practices, according to Evan Slavitt, Stupak's attorney, the Globe reports (Boston Globe, 12/16). In 2001, the U.S. attorney's office in Boston subpoenaed Serono, requesting nearly 10 years' worth of documents pertaining to Serostim, and the company in 2002 received similar requests from authorities in California, Florida, Maryland and New York. The criminal and civil investigations are focused on whether the company violated federal and state false claims acts or antikickback laws, which prohibit drug companies from offering incentives to doctors to prescribe a drug covered by the government, individuals familiar with the investigations say (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/15).
Details on Charges
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