January 11, 2006
Senate staff interview ex-SFBC officials
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate investigators
interviewed two former executives of pharmaceutical testing
company SFBC International Inc. on Wednesday as part of a probe
into allegations of unethical treatment of human test subjects,
the head of the Senate Finance Committee said.
Sen. Charles Grassley said his staff interviewed Lisa
Krinsky, who recently resigned as SFBC's president and
chairman, and Gerald Seifer, the company's former legal affairs
director. Both appeared voluntarily.
"My staff informed me that they cooperated fully and that
the interviews were productive," Grassley, an Iowa Republican,
said in a statement.
"The committee will continue reviewing the company's
practices and activities," Grassley added.
SFBC tests experimental drugs for pharmaceutical companies.
The company has been under fire since Bloomberg News ran
stories in November saying SFBC's testing practices put patient
health at risk. SFBC said a report by an independent legal
counsel refuted the allegations in the Bloomberg News stories.
The report was forwarded to Grassley and discussed during
Wednesday's staff interviews, Grassley said.
SFBC spokesman Michael York said the company was
cooperating with Grassley's investigation and was "pleased that
the Senate staff found the meetings were productive."
"The company believes these are important issues, and it is
committed to the ethical treatment of participants in trials,"
The charges have hurt shares of the company, which named a
new management team last week. SFBC also has hired investment
bankers to consider strategic options for the company.
On Tuesday, SFBC said the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission had requested records relating to the duties,
compensation and expenses of Krinsky and Seifer. The company
said it was cooperating with that request.
SFBC shares fell 16 cents on Wednesday to close at $17.94
on Nasdaq, down from a year high of $45.73 on September 19.