Former drug company lawyer re-indicted in Wellbutrin case

April 26, 2011

A onetime lawyer for drug maker GlaxoSmithKline was re-indicted on obstruction of justice charges in a probe into Wellbutrin off-label marketing.

An indictment of Lauren Stevens was dismissed in March following revelations of errors during the grand jury proceeding.

On Thursday, Stevens was charged again with four counts of making false statements, one count of obstruction of justice and one count of falsifying and concealing documents related to her then-company's promotion of the anti-depressant drug for weight loss, Reuters reports. Wellbutrin had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a weight loss drug.

Stevens has argued that she based her responses during the FDA probe on advice she received from her legal team, which included two other in-house attorneys and three outside counsel from King & Spalding, Corporate Counsel reports.

Corporate Counsel notes that the case is being closely watched "because it could set new parameters on just how much, and in what ways, an in-house lawyer can rely on her outside counsel's advice."

The trial currently is scheduled to begin later this month.

Source: Molly McDonough, "Former drug company lawyer re-indicted in Wellbutrin case," ABA Journal, April 15, 2011.


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