In this episode, Matt Kelly and I consider the recent rejection by federal Judge William Young of the plea agreement in the matter of US v. Aegerion Pharmaceuticals. This criminal case stemmed from Aegerion’s launch of Juxtapid, which is a treatment for high cholesterol with an annual cost of more than $300,000. Almost immediately, Aegerion executives engaged in deceptive sales practices that around Juxtapid. The Justice Department brought two misdemeanor charges against Aegerion for selling misbranded drugs across state lines. Federal prosecutors agreed to a plea bargain where Aegerion—now under new management, and cooperating assiduously with federal authorities—would pay $6.2 million in fines and penalties, with no compliance monitor. The plea deal was a “C Plea,” where the judge can only accept or reject the agreement entirely.
In some incredibly scathing language, the judge not only rejected the deal but castigated the entire system of allowing corporations off the hook so lightly while not giving the same opportunities to individual defendants. Echoing some of the criticisms from Jesse Eisinger’s book The Chickenshit Club he faults the DOJ for its handling of corporate malfeasance. The judge does so by quoting Shakespeare, country music and ranges widely from the Yates Memo, to Russian interference in our election, to President Donald Trump calling our judicial system a laughingstock.
It is a delicious opinion and Matt and I go into the weeds to dissect it.
To read the judge’s opinion click here.
See Matt Kelly’s blog post Corporate Plea Bargains Under Fire Again