WASHINGTON Dec 16 The U.S. Supreme Court on
Monday said it would not review the fraud conviction of former
InterMune Inc Chief Executive Scott Harkonen for a
statement he made about the effectiveness of one of the
Harkonen was prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department for
promoting the use of Actimmune as a treatment for idiopathic
pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease, in a news release the
company issued in 2002.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had not approved the
drug for that purpose. The drug was approved for treatment of
chronic granulomatous and malignant osteopetrosis, which are
Prosecutors said one year of treatment with Actimmune cost
$50,000 and Harkonen's aim was to increase sales of the drug.
Harkonen, InterMune CEO from 1998 to 2003, was indicted in
2008 and convicted of one count of mail fraud. He was sentenced
to three years of probation and ordered to pay a $20,000 fine.
The conviction was upheld by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of
Appeals in a March 2013 ruling. On appeal to the Supreme Court,
Harkonen's lawyers questioned whether the statement in the news
release was sufficient to warrant the conviction.
Harkonen, a doctor by training, was convicted based on his
statement that data from a medical study signaled that the drug
worked for the off-label use of treating idiopathic pulmonary
Separately, InterMune paid $36 million to settle government
claims relating to the off-label marketing of the drug.
The case is Harkonen v. United States, U.S. Supreme Court,