DOJ Tries Again With New Indictment Of Former In-House Attorney for Rx Company

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The Department of Justice April 14 announced that a former drug company attorney has been re-indicted on charges of obstruction and making false statements related to promotions of a pharmaceutical product (United States v. Stevens, D. Md., No. 8:10-cr-694-RWT, indictment 4/13/11).

In March, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland threw out the case against Lauren Stevens, who was an in-house counsel for GlaxoSmithKline. Judge Roger W. Titus found that prosecutors erroneously and prejudicially instructed the grand jury regarding the advice of counsel defense in the case.

The new indictment was returned April 13, DOJ said in a brief statement. DOJ noted that the drug company has not been charged with a crime.

The government said Stevens, a resident of Durham, N.C., is charged with one count of obstructing an official proceeding, one count of concealing and falsifying documents to influence a federal agency, and four counts of making false statements to the Food and Drug Administration. “The indictment returned late Wednesday in the District of Maryland contains essentially the same charges that were brought against Stevens in November 2010,” DOJ said.

Stevens's case involved GSK's promotion of its antidepressant drug Wellbutrin. In the original indictment from 2010, the company and its drug product were not named, but the government said the case involved promotion of a drug for off-label or unapproved uses. In the news release issued April 14, however, DOJ said the new indictment identifies GlaxoSmithKline as Stevens's employer at the time of the alleged obstruction and false statements.

The judge set a tentative trial date of April 26, DOJ said.


The indictment is available at http://op.bna.com/hl.nsf/r?Open=deln-8fxjzd. The judge's memorandum opinion that dismissed the previous indictment is at http://op.bna.com/hl.nsf/r?Open=deln-8f95np.