Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Bristol-Myers Squibb to Pay $1 Million Fine to Resolve Antitrust Investigation

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company pleaded guilty on June 11 to two counts of making false statements to the Federal Trade Commission in order to resolve an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division into the proposed settlement of patent litigation with Canadian drug maker Apotox Inc. over blood thinner Plavix. Bristol-Myers Squibb will pay a fine of $1 million.

Representations by Former Executive

In the federal district court in Washington, D.C., the company acknowledged that a former senior executive made oral representations to cause Apotox to conclude that Bristol-Myers Squibb would not launch an authorized generic if the parties reached a final revised settlement agreement.

The oral representations included (1) a statement that the former senior executive expected to oppose the launch of an authorized generic in the future and (2) an implied suggestion that Pete Dolan, the company’s former CEO, shared the former senior executive’s views.

Nondisclosure of Representations

Failure to disclose this information to the FTC in connection with the agency’s review of the proposed settlement agreement between the firms “operated as incomplete and therefore false statements,” according Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The company acknowledged its responsibility for the conduct of the former senior officer, but stated its belief that there was no “side agreement” with Apotex to refrain from launching an authorized generic version of Plavix.

According to the Associated Press, Bristol-Myers Squibb “pushed out” Dolan in September 2006 and said that its general counsel would leave the company.

Impact on FTC, New York State Investigations

The company stated that it could not predict the impact that its plea would have on investigations into the proposed Plavix patent settlement by the FTC and New York State Attorney General.

Bristol-Myers Squibb announced the details of the plea in a news release issued on Monday.

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