FORMER FDAer JAN STURM SENTENCED TO 60 DAYS WORK RELEASE
FORMER FDAer JAN STURM SENTENCED TO 60 DAYS WORK RELEASE and a $5,000 fine for accepting illegal gratuities from former American Therapeutics President Raju Vegesna. The Division of Generic Drugs ex-consumer safety officer had accepted $20,000 from Vegesna for expediting the firm's trazodone ANDA in 1986 and another $10,000 for providing information on 25 brandname drugs coming off patent ("The Pink Sheet" April 2, T&G-15). Sturm, the fourth FDA official to be sentenced in the generic drug scandal, also received a three year probation period, 200 hours community service, and the standard $50 special assessment fee. Four industry execs also have been sentenced, the latest being former ATI consultant Mohammed Azeem (see preceding T&G). Sturm's principal defense was that he knew he would be leaving FDA when he accepted the money and therefore was not concerned about having to provide future favors to ATI. Sturm left the agency in April 1987 to join Quad, declining a $20,000/year offer from Vegesna to stay on at FDA and watch over ATI's applications. First Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Jordan, in seeking incarceration for Sturm, commented that the government doesn't feel Sturm's explanation is an "acceptable justification" for his actions. Jordan, however, noted that Sturm has been very cooperative in the generic drug investigation and that he provided a "substantial part" of the information used in the case against Vegesna. In addition, Jordan said, Sturm provided "information that may lead to other prosecutions." Handing down his sentence, Judge Hargrove commented that Sturm "took a lot more than others" and contributed to the public's current loss of confidence in generic drugs. Sturm had told the judge that in addition to the devastating effects on his personal life, he was "particularly sadden[ed]" that he could have "hurt public confidence in the agency." The former FDAer is currently unemployed. He was fired from Quad after he invoked his fifth amendment rights at a September 1989 congressional hearing on the generic drug scandal.
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