by Tracy Staton – July 21,2016
Pharma marketers may have felt reprieved after a former Warner Chilcott sales chief was acquitted last month. But now, two former Johnson & Johnson execs have been convicted on off-label marketing charges, raising the specter of more prosecutions in the drug business.
The former CEO and sales VP of Acclarent, which J&J’s devices unit Ethicon bought in 2010, were found guilty of 10 misdemeanor violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and now face up to a year in prison for each count. They were acquitted of more serious fraud charges.
The charges are familiar in pharma sales: After a closely watched 6-week trial, the Boston jury decided that William Facteau and Patrick Fabian pushed an Acclarent product for uses the FDA had not approved. The Relieva Stratus Microflow Spacer was green-lighted to keep sinuses open, but Acclarent also promoted it as a steroid delivery device–a use that wasn’t just unapproved, but expressly rejected by the FDA.
The violations began as early as 2006. Facteau and Fabian remained with the company after the Ethicon buyout and then left in 2011.
The convictions come on the heels of a former Warner Chilcott sales chief’s not guilty verdict; W. Carl Reichel was cleared last month of federal conspiracy charges.