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Jul-01-2011 19:31printcomments

'A man is never more truthful than when he acknowledges himself a liar' - Mark Twain

"Corporate Counsel" recently wrote an article concerning due process in the debarment of Purdue Pharma's general counsel, Howard Udell by the Health & Human Services Agency.
Howard R. Udell, the top lawyer for Purdue Pharma; to his right is Dr. Paul D. Goldenheim, the company’s former medical director. Photographs by Don Petersen for The New York Times.

(MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.) - The Washington Legal Foundation is concerned with our government debarring General Counsel Howard Udell, CEO Michael Friedman and Chief Medical Officer Paul Goldenheim of Purdue Pharma from involvement in any federal healthcare programs for 12 years. 

They feel it "raises serious constitutional due process concerns about the government's interpretation" of the law.  The Washington Legal Foundation website proudly proclaims "advocates for freedom and justice."

I wonder where the Washington Legal Foundation was when these same three individuals pleaded guilty in Federal Court in 2007 to misleading physicians and patients about the addictive and abusive qualities of their blockbuster drug, OxyContin.  The actions of Udell, Friedman and Goldenheim - as well as their privately held company, Purdue Pharma - has resulted in thousands of deaths and addictions throughout the U.S. and Canada.  Where is the justice for the victims and their families because of the criminal activities of this pharmaceutical company and their executives?  My guess is the money trail of close to $10 billion leads to the front door of Purdue Pharma and not to victims and their families for the Washington Legal Foundation to advocate for the victims.

"Corporate Counsel" further reported that the statement came in the group's amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. The brief supports the appeals of former Purdue Pharma executives Udell, Friedman and Goldenheim.

Richard Samp, chief counsel at the Washington Legal Foundation and co-author of the brief, called the case a precursor of things to come.

Udell is the first known general counsel to be debarred under the responsible officer doctrine. It says, in effect, that an executive can be convicted of a criminal misdemeanor even if he personally did nothing wrong, but failed to detect and stop those who did.  I'm sure Purdue Pharma launched an extensive internal investigation to determine who was responsible for misleading physicians and patients about OxyContin.  May I suggest to Mr. Samp that he ask Purdue Pharma to produce the results of this extensive internal investigation.  That should be a strong defense against the government.  But then if an investigation was never conducted, it could look bad against Purdue Pharma.

"Since this was filed, and in the last year or so, the FDA [Food and Drug Administration] has come out with guidelines that suggest they will be bringing exclusion proceedings against executives in similar situations," Samp said. "If they have their way, this case will no longer be the outlier."

"Corporate Counsel" further reports that the foundation offers two key arguments in asking the court to overturn the debarments. First, that exclusion is too severe a penalty for a strict liability misdemeanor and raises serious due process concerns. And second is that the government's interpretation of a statute allowing strict liability is wrong and conflicts with the U.S. Constitution's requirement of due process. The brief urges the court to overturn that interpretation of the statute.

All briefs are due to the court by September 1, and no date for oral arguments is yet set.

Udell has indicated he is in private practice at the Udell Law Office, LLC in Westport, Connecticut -- "Corporate Counsel" even acknowledged this in their reporting.

Below is the email that Udell sent out when he was debarred and became a liability to Purdue Pharma as their Chief Counsel -

Please be advised that I have retired as a Purdue Pharma employee and am now
working as a consultant for Purdue on certain matters. You may contact me at
my new e-mail address: You do not have to resend
your message as it has been forwarded to the appropriate e-mail address. The
remainder of my contact information is unchanged and appears below. Please make
a note of the new email address for future use.

Howard R. Udell
Udell Law Office LLC
One Stamford Forum
Stamford, CT 06901
Tel (203) 588-7020
Fax (203) 588-6204

Strange -- Udell's address of One Stamford Forum and his email are at the corporate headquarters of Purdue Pharma -- not Westport, Connecticut.  But then maybe Udell is confused.  He lives in Westport, CT.

Just to be sure I was accurate in my reporting, I called the above telephone number and asked if I had reached Howard Udell's office.  I had indeed.  I asked if Udell worked in Stamford, CT and the receptionist confirmed he worked in Stamford.

Since Washington Legal Foundation is all about "freedom and justice", they may want to tell Udell it may not be good practice to lie to the U.S. government.  It might go against him in their ruling.

LP - For the peace, the love, the never-ending conversation, our faith in God and the Wil-ling-a-dooms in Baton Rouge - I treasure you.

___________________________________ Reporter Marianne Skolek, is an Activist for Victims of OxyContin and Purdue Pharma throughout the United States and Canada. In July 2007, she testified against Purdue Pharma in Federal Court in Virginia at the sentencing of their three CEO's - Michael Friedman, Howard Udell and Paul Goldenheim - who pleaded guilty to charges of marketing OxyContin as less likely to be addictive or abused to physicians and patients. She also testified against Purdue Pharma at a Judiciary Hearing of the U.S. Senate in July 2007. Marianne works with government agencies and private attorneys in having a voice for her daughter Jill, who died in 2002 after being prescribed OxyContin, as well as the voice for scores of victims of OxyContin. She has been involved in her work for the past 8-1/2 years and is currently working on a book that exposes Purdue Pharma for their continued criminal marketing of OxyContin.

Marianne is a nurse having graduated in 1991 as president of her graduating class. She also has a Paralegal certification. Marianne served on a Community Service Board for the Courier News, a Gannet newspaper in NJ writing articles predominantly regarding AIDS patients and their emotional issues. She was awarded a Community Service Award in 1993 by the Hunterdon County, NJ HIV/AIDS Task Force in recognition of and appreciation for the donated time, energy and love in facilitating a Support Group for persons with HIV/AIDS.

Marianne Skolek
National Activist for Victims of OxyContin and
Purdue Pharma - a criminally convicted pharmaceutical company
Staff Writer,

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