HHS ousting of exec raises industry concerns

Tuesday - 4/26/2011, 4:29pm EDT

Rob Burton, former deputy administrator, Office of Federal Procurement Policy

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The line between industry and government may be getting murkier. The government is attempting to oust a longtime drug-company chief executive over his company's marketing violations.

As reported by The Wall Street Journal:

The Department of Health and Human Services this month notified Howard Solomon of Forest Laboratories Inc. that it intends to exclude him from doing business with the federal government. This, in turn, could prevent Forest from selling its drugs to Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration. If the government implements its ban, Forest would have to dump Mr. Solomon, now 83 years old, in order to protect its corporate revenue. No drug company, large or small, can afford to lose out on sales to the federal government, a major customer.

It's this action that is raising red flags in the private sector. Rob Burton is the former deputy administrator at the Office of Federal Procurement Policy under the Bush Administration and a partner at Venable law firm. He explains what industry experts are concerned about.