Processing Magazine

Department of Justice Charges Former Glaxo Lawyer with Obstruction

November 10, 2010

Federal prosecutors have charged a former GlaxoSmithKline executive with obstructing justice and making false statements in an effort to conceal illegal promotion of a company drug, according to the Associated Press. The Department of Justice alleges that in 2002, Lauren Stevens of Durham, N.C., signed several letters to the Food and Drug Administration denying that her company had promoted an antidepressant drug for unapproved uses. But Stevens knew that the company had paid numerous physicians to give talks touting unapproved uses of the drug, including weight loss, according to the indictment filed in the U.S. District Court of Maryland. Drug companies are prohibited from promoting drugs for uses not approved by the FDA. Stevens was charged with one count of obstructing an official proceeding, one count of falsifying documents to influence a federal agency and four counts of making false statements to the FDA. Each of the obstruction charges carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The false statements counts each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison.