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Amerisource Is Target of Rebate Probe

September 20, 2003|From Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Shares of AmerisourceBergen Corp. fell more than 3% Friday after a report that the drug wholesaler is the target of a federal investigation involving rebates from drug manufacturers.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Food and Drug Administration and the FBI were investigating whether the company engaged in a scheme to illegally generate multiple rebates from drug manufacturers on the same product.

Executives of the Valley Forge, Pa.-based company said AmerisourceBergen had done nothing illegal.

Its shares closed down $1.82 at $54.83 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company acknowledged that in February 2000, it stopped doing business with a customer it suspected had illegally diverted merchandise. A former AmerisourceBergen employee who served that account pleaded guilty to mail fraud this week.

In court documents, the U.S. attorney's office in Sacramento accused Robert Strusz of defrauding several drug makers of $450,000. He allegedly received kickbacks in a scheme in which Amerisource sold drugs to institutional pharmacies in excess of their needs, with the drugs diverted illegally to the secondary wholesale market.

Strusz pleaded guilty Tuesday and agreed to cooperate with the government. Sentencing was scheduled for Dec. 2. Amerisource executives said Strusz voluntarily left the company.

The company denied that it knowingly participated in any illegal transactions.

"We haven't been convicted of any wrongdoing and don't expect to be. We are absolutely convinced that with the exception of this one employee, no wrong has been done here by our company," Chief Executive R. David Yost said.

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