SP points to CEO's plan as litigation looms

KENILWORTH, NJ: The corporate communications team at Schering-Plough (SP) has responded to the company's most recent woes by reinforcing CEO Fred Hassan's initial action steps, which he outlined just 17 days into his tenure at the troubled pharmaceutical company.

KENILWORTH, NJ: The corporate communications team at Schering-Plough (SP) has responded to the company's most recent woes by reinforcing CEO Fred Hassan's initial action steps, which he outlined just 17 days into his tenure at the troubled pharmaceutical company.

Ken Banta, former VP of strategic communications at Pharmacia (where Hassan joined from), has been working on a consulting basis to help the CEO formulate messages.

The Massachusetts US attorney's office, in a letter dated May 28, said that SP is the

target of a criminal investigation. The letter accused the company of promoting drugs

for "off-label" uses, submitting false pricing information to the government, giving perks to doctors for prescribing SP's products, and destroying documents related to a government investigation.

The in-house department sent out a press release two days after receiving the letter. Comments to the media, and internal communications with employees have emphasized Hassan's formerly announced plans for "reorganizing the company in a global manner," said Robert Consalvo, director of external communications.

Last month, the recently appointed CEO said many of the company's current operations would be replaced by globalized systems.

SP has had a long-standing relationship with Kekst & Co., but Consalvo confirmed that

no external crisis support has been sought specifically for the current investigation.

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