SFO faces £10m legal bill on collapsed pharma investigation

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Readers' comments (14)

  • Waste of public money

    The amount of public money and resource that has gone into this investigation cannot be underestimated. A Parliamentary question in 2006 revealed, at that stage, the SFO had spent £14m on the case. Since then the case has been all the way to the House of Lords and back resulting in the refusal by the Court of Appeal on 3 December 20078 to grant leave.

    This case is an all too clear example of how old–style investigations, which the new Director of the SFO intends to change have not been effective. Whilst this ruling is no doubt a setback to the SFO it is one that is likely to galvanise the Director in his commitment in achieving a fundamental reform of the way the SFO work going forward.

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  • Serious Farce Office

    All the defendants made their position known from the beginning on this case- there were no viable charges to be answered.

    Twice we invited the SFO to drop it claims, but it refused despite the House of Lords agreeing with us.
    They should have had an independent review to see whether it was viable to carry on to this stage rather than carrying on regardless and wasting valuable time and resources.

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  • SFO was misguided

    I have maintained from the very beginning of this case that on the facts as alleged no criminal offence was revealed. It is one of the best days in my professional career for my team to have succeeded and be proved correct. I remonstrated with assistant director, Philip Lewis, who was seen by many to be the driver behind this case.

    Given that the Enterprise Act, which was specifically brought in to deal with criminal breaches in respect of cartel activity, was not in force at the time will lead many to believe, as I do, that the decision to launch a prosecution was misconceived.

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  • Pannone puff


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  • Re: Pannone puff

    Hear hear.

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  • A Round of Applause

    I would like to applaud all the legal teams involved particularly those from Jones Day, DLA Piper, Norton Rose and SJ Berwin who led the way to the Court of Appeal and eventually to the House of Lords and did a marvelous job.

    The decision made by those representing the corporate defendants to mount the legal challenge when they did (a decision which was not universally agreed with), the preparation of and legal arguments presented by Counsel at those hearings, these arguments are what ultimately led to the collapse of this case.

    I will echo the sentiments already expressed that the Prosecution should never have been brought in the first place and the erroneous decision to prosecute has ultimately led to a waste of substantial amounts of tax payers money!

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  • Jones Day

    A round of applause to the legal team at Jones Day for leading the way on this case.

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  • As

    Can I point out - amid all the slghtly nauseating backslapping amongst the defence firms involved - that these drugs firms (far from being so pearly white) all settled with the NHS in a multi-milliion pound settlement relating to the pricing of generic drugs.

    Whatever the SFO investigation cost the tax payer, it pales into insignificance against what the tax payer paid over the odds for years due to the behaviour of these companies. Or are we all going to ignore that fact?

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  • Last post

    I couldn't agree more. £10m is small beer against what the NHS (and others) pay for drugs each year, and if the SFO had a realistic chance of reducing that massive bill, it was absolutely right to pursue it.

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  • Hooray!

    Hooray for all the defendant law firms! Now ill people will have to pay more to get better.


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  • Justice

    I agree heartily with the last 2 posts. While this case should have been dropped earlier, lets not forget that the pharameceutical firms have paid out approx £30 million out of a staggering £120 million owed to the NHS in civil proceedings.

    Congratulations on defending your clients, but to refer to this case as a 'waste of tex payers money' is slightly hypocritical when the past conduct of the defendants is taken into account.

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  • Reform

    The truth is that everybody told the SFO that cartel activity could not form the basis of a criminal offence prior to the Enterprise Act. By everybody, I include all the defence teams, the OFT, the Standing Committee on the Enterprise Act and, it is rumoured, Ros Wright and the CPS.

    The only real issue is how we have a criminal justice system that is unable to resolve these issues until 3 1/2 years after charges are brought. Perhaps the supervision of investigations by the courts is long overdue.

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  • unhappy comments

    How would you like to be prosecuted for smoking on a bus in 2003?

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