When a large corporation intentionally crosses the line and violates the law, consequences should always accompany that sort of thing. It should be noted that corporations are run by officers and directors and they have potential liability when they allow the law to be violated. There is a rule of law, known as the corporate officer doctrine, that all officers and directors should be aware of. Let’s look at a case in point. The executives at Purdue Pharma were convicted under that doctrine for a misdemeanor misbranding crime. While the company itself was convicted of a felony – misbranding the painkiller OxyContin – what was the collateral consequence for the executives? The Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services excluded them from federally-funded health care programs for 12 years. In my opinion, that was a good decision and was authorized by law.
The executives argued to the DC Court of Appeals that the Secretary didn’t have the authority to do what she did, and that even if she did, 12 years was too long. The Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 ruling, held that the Secretary of Health and Human Services was within her authority in excluding three Purdue Pharma executives for 12 years. The Secretary has the authority to impose an exclusionary order for a violation that includes misbranding of drugs, according to the Court. I believe Congress clearly intended for the Secretary to be able to exclude a corporate official who engaged in behavior that violates the law. It will be interesting to see how this case winds up.
Source: The Corporate Crime Reporter
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