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Dolan forced out over Plavix affair

Published on 13/09/06 at 10:13am

Peter Dolan, the chief executive of Bristol-Myers Squibb has been forced to resign after the company's legal advisor called for his dismissal in connection with the Plavix affair.

Bristol-Myers Squibb and partners Sanofi-Aventis are currently being investigated by US government anti-competition watchdogs over an aborted deal with generics firm Apotex to delay a version of their co-marketed drug Plavix.

The pharma companies had agreed to pay Apotex to delay its generic challenger to the drug, but the deal was blocked by regulators, and BMS executives are now under investigation and could eventually face criminal charges.

Former federal judge Frederick Lacey, acting as a legal monitor for BMS told a special session of the company's board that it should fire Dolan and general counsel Richard Willard.

Both men have stepped down, a move BMS will hope can satisfy investors, if not government prosecutors.

Dolan in particular had been identified with what appear to be some very serious misjudgements relating to Plavix, including an agreement to allow Apotex to launch its version if the original deal fell through.

Apotex duly took its opportunity, flooding the US market with its version and decimating US branded Plavix, even though it was given just five days to market the drug before a court order forced it to stop.

Bristol-Myers Squibb have named James Cornelius, a director of the company and former chairman of Guidant Corporation, as interim chief executive, but Dolan will be kept on to assist the move to a new leadership.

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