Court won't hear appeal over news release

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The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from a CEO convicted because a news release misstated the results of a drug's effectiveness.

The high court on Monday declined to hear an appeal from Dr. W. Scott Harkonen, the chief executive of the biotechnology company InterMune Inc. from 1998 until 2003. He was convicted wire fraud in the marketing of the drug Actimmune, which was supposed to fight the fatal lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

The conviction centered on an August 2002 news release that misstated the results of a clinical trial using Actimmune. The release falsely said the test showed Actimmune helped IPF patients live longer.

Harkonen's lawyers say the results of the trial were accurate, and he is being punished for offering a scientific opinion about the results.

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