Federal prosecutors dropped all charges against former Stryker Biotech president Mark Philip today in a lawsuit charging him and a clutch of sales reps with illegally promoting the off-label use of 2 bone growth products and of lying to the FDA.
The feds dropped the Philip indictment after reviewing documents that had previously been withheld as privileged, assistant U.S. attorney Jeremy Sternberg said during a pretrial hearing today, according to Bloomberg.
"After reviewing the documents, it’s the government’s plan to file a motion to dismiss in the case against Mr. Philip," Sternberg said.
Philips had been charged with wire fraud and conspiracy and was facing as many as 20 years in prison and deportation to the U.K. if convicted, Bloomberg reported.
" We said at the outset that Mark Philip was a good and decent family man, innocent of these charges ," Philip’s attorney Stephen Huggard told MassDevice in an email. "We are pleased that he can now resume his life without the burden of this case."
Last month a Massachusetts federal judge granted Philip’s request to sever charges against him, a move that allowed documents previously under attorney-client privilege to be used in court.
In filings with the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, Philip’s lawyers said the motion was necessary to his defense, which would center on the argument that "he acted in good faith after consultation with [Stryker Biotech] counsel," they wrote.
"We applaud the government for recognizing that fairness and justice required the case to be dismissed," Huggard said. "It is not easy for the government to acknowledge that charges were perhaps brought in error, and in this case, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz deserves special credit for diving into the facts of the matter and making the hard, difficult decision to dismiss the case."
Philip was named alongside Stryker Biotech, a division of Stryker Corp. (NYSE:SYK) and sales managers David Ard, Jeff Whitaker and William Heppner.
The indictment alleged that the defendants were part of a scheme to promote the combined use of a pair of separate bone-healing products, each granted a narrow, provisional "humanitarian device exemption" by the FDA.
The government dropped all charges against Ard mid-January and dropped charges against Whitaker and Heppner 2 days later, after Stryker pled guilty to a single single misdemeanor charge and agreed to pay $15 million to settle the case.