Dienstag, April 26, 2011

Why does this not surprise me?

One of the basic tenets of law is that there is no such thing as guilt by association. In other words, if your sibling goes on a murderous rampage, you won't get the electric chair (unless, of course, you were helping them load). In much the same manner, if your boss is embezzling money, you won't go to jail as a result.

Or if someone in the company broke the law on their own initiative, the man running the company isn't blamed for breaking the law. He gets blamed for having bad judgement, perhaps, or for not having adequate and feasible checks and balances to prevent criminal behavior.

Unless, of course, you are the CEO of a drug company. Then you have to resign if your company wants to keep on doing business with the government.

Read this.

Key quote:

The Health and Human Services department startled drug makers last year when the agency said it would start invoking a little-used administrative policy under the Social Security Act against pharmaceutical executives. This policy allows officials to bar corporate leaders from health-industry companies doing business with the government, if a drug company is guilty of criminal misconduct. The agency said a chief executive or other leader can be banned even if he or she had no knowledge of a company's criminal actions. Retaining a banned executive can trigger a company's exclusion from government business.

Hmmm. Let's parse that one: someone in the company broke the law, the company accepts responsibility and is convicted of criminal actions. Even if the CEO knew nothing about this, they can be banned.

Just like that.

Why does this not surprise me?

Well, apparently this policy existed but, as the article said, wasn't used much. But apparently now the Obama Administration is now making, basically, the hiring decision of who gets to run drug companies.

Key further quote:

The new use of exclusion is meant to "alter the cost-benefit calculus of the corporate executives," said Lew Morris, chief counsel for the Department of Health and Human Services's inspector general, in congressional testimony last month.

In other words, HHS makes the assumption that corporate executives of drug companies base their operative decisions not on things like market needs and profitability, but rather based on what they can get away with.

Why does this not surprise me?

Again, this is not refusing to do business with someone convicted of doing something, but rather a refusal to do business with a company unless they fire their CEO because someone else at that company broke the law and was convicted for it, and the implementation is left up to the government to decide.

Why does this not surprise me?

Respect for the law and due process don't really seem to mean much to the Obama Administration these days (if ever).

Keine Kommentare: