Monday, May 21, 2007

Wrong on Purdue Execs

Well, we’re never too proud to admit mistakes.

In our post on Purdue Pharma’s $600 million settlement of its guilty plea to mishandling Oxycontin promotion, we said that “the company’s president Michael Friedman, one of the executives pleading guilty--is getting the boot and, according to the New York Times, an $18 million fine; likely to follow is chief legal officer Howard Udell, who also pleaded guilty (and, says The Times, is on the hook for $9 million).

According to Purdue’s Special Counsel Tim Bannon, Friedman in fact told Purdue’s board 18 months ago that he was going to retire and, at the board’s request, would stay on through, as Mr. Bannon says, “a then-challenging financial period.” Friedman then told the company—in April, before the consent decree—that he was going to leave before the end of the year. Purdue’s board, says Mr. Bannon, “acknowledged that Michael’s decision to leave was his own.”

As for Howard Udell: no again. He’s staying with the company, and retains, says Mr. Bannon, the board’s “complete confidence.”

So: we were wrong on both counts. Apologies.

Rest of the post we stand by.

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