Former InterMune CEO Scott Harkonen has been sentenced to six months of home confinement and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine for his part in disseminating a misleading press release in 2002. He also received three years' probation.
Harkonen was at the helm when the developer distributed a press release stating its bone and immune disorder product Actimmune extended the lives of patients with a fatal lung disease known as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The release maintained Actimmune reduced deaths by 70 percent in people with less severe forms of the disease. But the FDA never approved Actimmune for IPF. Even though doctors can prescribe medicines off-label, it's illegal for drugmakers to market their products for unapproved uses. The company settled the off-label marketing case for $36.9 million in 2006; three years later Harkonen was convicted of wire fraud.
The federal government wanted Harkonen to face a 10-year prison sentence, but his attorney told Bloomberg that prosecutors were unable to prove that anyone had been harmed by the misinformation. He added that the former exec plans to appeal the sentence.
- here's the Bloomberg article
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