The former director of the Food and Drug Administration's generic drug division was indicted in Baltimore yesterday on two counts of perjury for allegedly lying to government investigators about his contact with pharmaceutical manufacturers.
The federal grand jury indictments, the latest round of charges in the two-year-old investigation of the FDA and the generic drug industry, named Marvin Seife, 66, now of San Antonio, who retired as director of the agency's generic drug division at the end of 1989.
Seife is the highest-ranking FDA official to be indicted in the investigation and among the last to be charged in the corruption phase of the probe, said U.S. Attorney Breckinridge Willcox.
Prosecutors expect to spend the next year seeking charges against pharmaceutical manufacturers who might have substituted drugs approved for sale, federal prosecutors said.
Seife was responsible for reviewing applications from pharmaceutical manufacturers seeking approval to market generic drugs.
If convicted on both counts, Seife could be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.
Four officials who worked for Seife's FDA division already have been convicted of corruption and racketeering charges in the continuing investigation, which began in 1988.
Five executives of generic drug companies, three pharmaceutical firms and an industry consultant also have been convicted of similar charges of trying to influence the drug-approval process.