Pharmaceutical Company Employees Charged In Scheme

BOSTON (AP) - Six former employees of a drug company were charged in federal court in Boston with an illegal marketing scheme for the prostate cancer drug Lupron.

The six are charged with conspiracy and kickback crimes. One of them is an Ohio resident, 48-year-old Mark Smith of Wadsworth, a former district manager for TAP Pharmaceutical Products of Lake Forest, Ill.

The six join one physician and six other TAP employees who were indicted last October.

TAP agreed in October to pay $875 million to settle charges that it inflated prices and bribed doctors to prescribe Lupron.

The government alleged that throughout the 1990s, TAP set and controlled the price at which Medicare reimbursed doctors for Lupron. It said that the company reported an average price higher than the price offered to doctors.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)