Former FDA chief sentenced

January 23, 1991|By Kelly Gilbert | Kelly Gilbert,Evening Sun Staff

Dr. Marvin Seife, former director of the U. S. Food and Drug Administration's generic drug division, was fined $25,000 today and sentenced to five months in federal prison and five months on home detention on two perjury convictions.

Judge John R. Hargrove, in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, said he would recommend work-release incarceration for Seife, 66, of San Antonio, Texas, for the first five months of the sentence.

The judge also ordered Seife, who was known as "the father of the generic drug industry," to serve two years of supervised release, to start during his home detention.

"The important thing is, people in government can't become so important that you can run the government any way you want," Hargrove told the defendant. "You thought you had become immune."

U.S. Attorney Breckinridge L. Willcox said the judge's work-release recommendation is "illegal," and indicated the government would appeal the sentence if the Bureau of Prisons does not send Seife to a conventional prison for the first five months of his term.

Willcox said in court that Seife "betrayed his position of trust" and "set the moral tone for unprecedented scandals in the FDA" by lying to FDA investigators, under oath in an interview and an affidavit, about his acceptance of a $30 lunch in 1987 from two officials of the industry his agency regulated.

During Seife's trial last October, Willcox and a co-prosecutor played up the defendant's perjury and downplayed the lunch aspect, while the defense ridiculed the lunch as the basis for the felony charges.

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