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Charged drug company official recently worked for BC government

The online version of a Globe and Mail story identifies Andrew van der Gugten as one of three people charged with fraud for bilking the provincial pharmaceutical system.

As recently as 2006 van der Gugten worked for the British Columbia government. He represented the provincial health ministry working on the National Pharmaceuticals Strategy.

According to the Globe and Mail, the Ontario government ordered seven generic drug makers to reimburse the province a total of $33.8 million, which it alleges the companies overcharged patients for drugs.

Forensic audits are continuing but have already turned up enough information to lay charges against van der Gugten who now works for the generic drug company Ratiopharm Inc., the story said, as well as two other individuals. One works for a Toronto drug wholesaler and the other for a Hamilton pharmacy.

The charges raise questions about van der Gugten's work for B.C., said health policy researcher Alan Cassels.

“It stinks,” he said. Public servants involved in regulating the pharmaceutical industry should be prevented from going directly to work for the private sector, he said. “There should be a cooling off period.”

The Tyee reported in December that van der Gugten represented Ratiopharm at industry-dominated meetings aimed at restructuring B.C.'s drug approval process.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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