Just this week the U.S. Justice Department announced that it had collected $2.4 billion in fraud cases against health care defendants in 2011, but we don’t remember hearing about any Big Pharma execs docking their own pay over the settlements. Contrast that with Daiichi Sankyo of Japan, which bought a controlling stake in the Indian drugmaker Ranbaxy in 2008. On Wednesday, when Ranbaxy announced a $500 settlement with the DOJ over claims that it marketed generic drugs that didn’t meet federal safety standards, Daiichi’s CEO and board members immediately vowed to slash their salaries by up to 30 percent over six months in response.
According to a statement Ranbaxy issued early Wednesday, the company signed a consent decree with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and separately agreed “to make a provision of $500 million” to resolve all civil and criminal liabilities in connection with a DOJ probe.
Ranbaxy was represented by W. Mark Hamel and Geoffrey Garinther of Venable in the DOJ settlement. Carmen Shephard and Kate Beardsley of Zuckerman Spaeder handled the FDA agreement. Henry Gutman of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett advised Daiichi Sankyo and Ranbaxy’s board and senior management. Hamel and Garninther referred us to the company’s statement when we asked for more details on DOJ agreement.
A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment on the settlement, and the FDA consent decree, which must be approved by a federal district court judge in Baltimore, still hadn’t been filed by Wednesday afternoon. Back in 2008, however, federal prosecutors sued Ranbaxy and a consultant in Baltimore federal district court to enforce subpoenas related to the probe, and the government’s filings in that case shed some light on the accusations.
According to the DOJ’s motion to enforce the subpoenas, the government was investigating an alleged “pattern of systemic fraudulent conduct” by the company, including false submissions to the FDA and a coverup of safety violations at at least one Ranbaxy plant in India that allowed “the introduction of adulterated and misbranded products into interstate commerce.” (Pharmalot covered the allegations here.)
Daiichi Sankyo paid $4.6 billion for a controlling stake in Ranbaxy in mid-2008. The FDA banned imposts of drugs from two Ranbaxy plants just months after the deal was announced.