Judge discusses validity of case against Najarian

At the conclusion of University surgeon John Najarian’s trial, U.S District Court Judge Richard Kyle commented on several aspects of the case. He discussed the trial, the ALG program and the validity of the charges stemming from violations of Food and Drug Administration policy.

The verdict: “I don’t read the verdict as saying that everything that went on in the ALG program was done properly. I don’t read the verdict as saying that everything this defendant did in terms of his double-billing or tax was done perfectly. But the jury has rendered its verdict, and that verdict is not guilty.”

The FDA and the University: “It was a program that was looked at by the FDA for 15 or 20 years with what I guess I could describe as benign neglect. I think everyone knew what was going on. I think it was run out of the University of Minnesota, and, quite frankly, I think the University of Minnesota knew what was going on and certainly was the beneficiary of the financial success of that program.
“What the FDA did in closing down the program I certainly don’t quarrel with. There probably came a point in time in which enough was enough and the FDA said, ‘Let’s bring this to a halt and either get it fixed or close it down.’ And I am not here to pass any judgment on the internal actions which the University of Minnesota took with respect to this defendant in terms of his position with the Department of Surgery or at the Medical School.”

The trial: “Converting all of this, however, to a criminal proceeding of the magnitude that we saw here, it seems to me has gone or did go beyond the bounds of common sense. We had a program here in Minnesota, which for all of its problems and shortcomings was a good program and literally saved thousands of lives. It should have been run better and it wasn’t. But I have serious doubts as to whether that type of program should have been subjected to a criminal proceeding of this kind.”

In closing: “In some ways, it’s a sad chapter for the University of Minnesota. It was sad when the FDA closed the program down. I don’t think the University’s investigation or this trial have made it anything less than sad. I’m sorry that it happened. But now it’s over. Doctor, to you good luck. And again to counsel … I want to repeat my appreciation for the professional manner in which this case was presented at all times.”

— Jodi Compton