Friday, April 30, 2010

Ex-Schering-Plough Defense Counsel To Be Lead US Attorney Handling Health Care Fraud In NJ

While this newly-minted head of the revamped health care fraud prosecution unit in the New Jersey US Attorneys' office will have to be walled off from any investigations involving legacy Schering-Plough, and thus New Merck (due to conflicts rules), it should give New Jersey pharma company CEOs [and their GCs] more than a little pause, when it settles in that -- by dint of her corporate defense "insider" stint, as retained lead counsel to Schering-Plough, she now well-understands where the corporate cracks and crevices are -- yep, "hiding" right there, in plain view. And to this recently-acquired knowledge, she'll add her considerable prior experience as a US Attorney, from her last go-'round -- prosecuting criminal fraud cases of all sorts. Smart hire, here -- by DoJ.

The site "Main Justice" has a great article on it all, do go read -- but here is a short snippet:

. . . .The Justice Department has signaled it intends to aggressively pursue health care fraud, requesting a $60 million increase in its budget for fiscal 2011 to combat it. . . .

[Ms. Maureen] Ruane will join the U.S. Attorney’s office on May 24, her second tour of duty with the office. In 1998, she joined the U.S. Attorney’s office working on appeals, then moved to the criminal division where she investigated and tried cases in bank fraud, consumer fraud, interstate theft and money laundering.

After she jumped to private practice at Lowenstein Sandler PC in 2004, Ruane represented pharmaceutical and health care companies on civil matters and in investigations. She served as co-lead counsel to Schering Plough in defending against shareholder lawsuits challenging its merger with Merck. She also represented Bristol Myers Squibb in environmental lawsuits. . . .

"It is absolutely a new and exciting opportunity, when so much of the nation is focused on health care,” Ruane said. “New Jersey is home to so many pharmaceutical companies, it’s a key state where we should look very carefully at what is happening. . . ."

Indeed. There is every reason to expect that this now two-time DoJ veteran will vigorously, and fairly, enforce the federal health care fraud laws, in what Ed Silverman calls the "nation's medicine cabinet".


Anonymous said...

One can only hope.

Time will tell if she will advance or impede prosecutions.


Anonymous said...

Also from the article:

"she said, a lot of the problems at pharmaceutical companies are happening at a lower level, so if companies feel like they will be dealt with fairly, they may be more apt to self-disclose."

Hmmm. I don't know about that lower level stuff.

Sounds more like there's a VP in charge of going to jail.


condor said...

You are right, Salmon -- we will have to wait and see.