An administration push to blacklist the CEO of a company over marketing violations has others in the industry concerned over an apparent shift in strategy toward punishing executives in addition to their companies.
The Department of Health and Human Services is attempting to blacklist Howard Solomon, whose company Forest Laboratories was found to have marketed their antidepressant Celexa as a treatment for children before the drug won approval for pediatric use in 2010, The Wall Street Journal reports. The department said it intends to exclude Solomon from doing business with the federal government, which would almost certainly lead to his departure given that the federal government is an important customer to all drug companies.
While this is big news in the health care industry, it may have broader implications as well.
The "action against the CEO of Forest Labs is a game changer," Richard Westling, a corporate defense attorney in Nashville, told the Journal. "It would be a mistake to see this as solely a health-care industry issue. The use of sanctions such as exclusion and debarment to punish individuals where the government is unable to prove a direct legal or regulatory violation could have wide-ranging impact."