Many people these days associate the pharmaceutical industry with profiteering, misleading advertising, and misplaced development priorities. Just as many place faith in the FDA as the watchdog — the government organization that will keep the drug companies honest, and keep harmful meds off the market.
These people were undoubtedly disappointed when former head of the FDA, Lester Crawford, was charged with lies and conflict-of-interest:
Crawford pleaded guilty in October to charges of having a conflict of interest and false reporting of information about stocks that he and his wife owned. The stocks were in food, beverage and medical device companies that Crawford regulated while head of the Food and Drug Administration.
Crawford and his wife, Cathy, made roughly $39,000 from exercising options and in dividends from the stocks they held in the FDA-regulated companies.
In court, Crawford admitted to falsely reporting that he had sold or did not own stock when he continued holding shares in the firms governed by rules of the FDA, which is illegal. Beginning in 2002, Crawford filed seven incorrect financial reports with a government ethics office and Congress, leading to the misdemeanor charges…
…Though he lied about ownership of the stocks – including under oath before the Senate – government attorneys acknowledged there was no evidence he was “engaged in a concerted scheme to use his high office for personal gain.”
When it comes to penalties for hiding damaging information, one wonders if Crawford, and the FDA, would be held to the same standards as Merck and other companies. Today, it will be revealed Crawford would avoid jail time and be fined $50,000.
Crawford’s biography on the FDA website has not been updated to reflect this news.
Update: Like so much else concerning the FDA, today’s sentencing has been delayed.
More context from The Dissident Voice…