Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rumor Report: Some "Local Color" -- On Outgoing Merck Chief Compliance Officer

This morning's installment comes as an update to my post of yesterday morning -- to which an anonymous reader offered the following backrgound -- in my comment box:

. . . .Anonymous said. . .

That [naming the new Merck CCO] took a lot longer than most thought. The scuttlebutt at the merger was that Rick left Legacy Merck in a fury when he was passed over to head MMD in favor of Dick Clark (who transitioned to CEO from there). This was allegedly 'proven' by the fact that all units of the company had their compliance areas consolidated under Bowles except MMD. Alleged sour grapes dragging on. I suppose the real proof will be if MMD's compliance folks fold under the new guy. We shall see.

March 28, 2012 11:38 AM. . . .

Let's keep our eye out for this -- it would make no sense not to have the whole company under one chief compliance officer, as the as-amended corporate integrity agreement between Merck and the DoJ covers the entire company -- not just certain units. And it seems pretty clear that the lawyers driving the governance changes in the settlement of the federal ENHANCE ERISA suits (requiring prompt disclosure mechanisms, as to all future clinical trials conducted by Merck -- and disclosure oversight boards), all made final last week, are hinged upon a strong independent CCO -- and Michael Holston is certainly that. Stay tuned.


Anonymous said...

Did you note the TRA2P results posted on

Anonymous said...

The "battle" between Dr. Bowles and Mr. Clark was both professional and philosophical. Dr. Bowles wanted to invest $$ into technology upgrades, professional staff training and improved quality services at West Point and in US/Canada/Europe manufacturing by Merck employees. Mr. Clark wanted to reduce costs by decreasing worker training and worker skill requirements (e.g., associates degrees in place of bachelors degress, inexperienced personnel for experienced personnel), outsourcing support services to lowest-cost subcontractors, and moving manufacturing to China and India. Mr. Clark "won" (but at what cost to Merck?).

As for the independence of Mr. Holston -- well, there's more to that story, too!

condor said...

Oh my. Thank you so much for this.

I'd love to say it was the exception in American pharma, over the last half-decade, but it was -- sadly -- far more the rule, than the exception.

Thanks for all the deep insight you are adding, day by day to my humble abode.


Condor said...

And FWIW, I was pretty impressed (in various meetings) with Holston when he was an AUSA on health care fraud, in PA.

The clarity of his vision may have dimmed a bit since then, but he didn't seem like a guy who could be co-opted solely by a large corporate or lawfirm paycheck.

I guess time will tell.