Issue Date: October 12, 2009
Former InterMune CEO Convicted Of Fraud
W. Scott Harkonen, CEO of InterMune from February 1998 through June 2003, was convicted in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California of wire fraud for disseminating false information about the efficacy of the company’s drug Actimmune (interferon γ-1b) as a treatment for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Most of the company’s Actimmune sales were for non-FDA-approved, or off-label, use of the drug to treat the fatal disease. One year’s treatment cost about $50,000. In October 2006, InterMune agreed to pay about $37 million to resolve criminal charges and civil liability related to illegal promotion of the drug. Harkonen faces up to 20 years in prison.
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