(CN) – A federal judge in Washington, D.C., issued a unique sentencing for former pharmaceutical executive Dr. Andrew G. Bodnar over his involvement in duping federal investigators in a drug-patent dispute: to write a book.
In April, Bodnar pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge for filing false statements with the federal government in a patent dispute between Bristol-Myers Squibb and a Canadian generic drug maker.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina sentenced the former senior vice president at Bristol-Myers to two years probation and ordered him to write a book about the case during this time. Bodnar was also slapped with a $5,000 fine.
The dispute centered on the blood thinner Plavix, which Bristol-Myers sold as part of a joint venture with French pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis. In November 2001, Apotex challenged the validity of the Plavix patent because it wanted to create a generic version of the drug. Bristol-Myers and Sanofi fired back with a patent infringement lawsuit in March 2002, and Bodnar got involved in settlement negotiations.
The Justice Department claimed that Apotex agreed to wait until September 2011 to launch the generic drug, so long as Bristol-Myers did not launch an authorized generic version during Apotex’s 180-day exclusivity period.
During negotiations, Bodnar told Apotex’s CEO Barry Sherman that he opposed Bristol Myer’s plan to launch its own generic version of Plavix, but said he could not prevent Bristol-Myers from doing so, according to a sentencing memo.
Bodnar then signed a revised settlement for the Federal Trade Commission that never mentioned a generic launch by Bristol-Myers. Apotex later announced that Bristol Myers had made an “oral commitment” not to launch a competing generic version during its exclusivity period.
Bodnar claimed he did not know the information was inaccurate when he signed the certification for the FTC.
Judge Urbina has crafted literary sentences before. In 1998, he sentenced D.C. lobbyist James H. Lake to write a monograph to 2,000 lobbyists covering federal laws that govern corporate campaign contributions after Lake was convicted for making illegal contributions. Lake was forced to cover printing and distribution costs, and pay a $150,000 fine.
Urbina said Bodnar’s book would serve as a cautionary tale to other executives.
In 2007, Bristol-Myers agreed to pay a $1 million fine for the false statements.