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Drug rep is guilty of perjury

A former regional account manager for a major US pharmaceutical manufacturer was found guilty of perjury Friday for lying before a federal grand jury about off-contract price reductions given to a health clinic.

As a regional account manager for TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc., Joanne Richardson, 37, of Tyngsborough was responsible for the company's sales to the Lahey Clinic in Burlington.

In 1997, she directly participated in contract negotiations for the sale of the prostate drug Lupron with the hospital's pharmacy director and the chief of urology.

Hospital officials told Richardson that a company selling a competing drug had offered to sell the drug to Lahey for a cheaper price, according to testimony during the seven-day jury trial in US District Court.

Since Lake Forest, Ill.-TAP could not meet the lower price without also giving the benefit to Medicaid, Richardson and others at TAP offered to give Lahey off-contract hidden price reductions in the form of 50 free injections and "education" and "research" grants of up to $50,000 per year.

Richardson denied the off-contract price reductions before a federal grand jury twice in 2000, prosecutors said.

Richardson, who was also found not guilty on an obstruction of justice charge, is scheduled to be sentenced April 29. She faces up to five years in federal prison, three years of probation, and fines of up to $250,000.

Richardson is the third TAP employee convicted in the investigation of TAP's business practices. Four doctors have also pleaded guilty to charges in the case.

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