A Durham attorney who once worked in GlaxoSmithKline's legal department has been charged with obstructing an official proceeding, concealing and falsifying documents and five counts of making false statements to the Food and Drug Administration.
Lauren Stevens was indicted this week by the U.S. Justice Department for impeding an FDA inquiry in 2002.
The indictment doesn't name the company Stevens worked for other than to say it was a major pharmaceutical company. The company has not been charged with a crime.
Mary Anne Rhyne, a GSK spokesperson, confirmed that Stevens worked in the company's U.S. legal department and is now retired.
London-based GSK has its U.S. headquarters in Research Triangle Park.
In an e-mail , Stevens attorney, Brien T. O'Connor, said his client is innocent of the charges.
The indictment states that in October 2002 the FDA asked for information about the company’s promotion of a prescription drug as part of an inquiry into whether the drug was being promoted for uses that had not been approved by the agency, also known as "off-label" uses.
The indictment alleges that Stevens knew that the company had paid numerous physicians to give promotional talks to other physicians that included information about unapproved uses of the drug.
Each of the obstruction charges carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Each of the false statement counts carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison.