ALG scientist ‘relieved’ at light sentence

Richard Condie, who pleaded guilty eight months ago to three charges related to the illegal sale of the transplant drug ALG, received a sentence Wednesday of a $50,000 fine, two years probation and 200 hours of community service.
Condie’s charges included tax evasion, embezzling University money and conspiring to sell ALG.
U.S. District Judge Richard Kyle, who presided over the trial of Dr. John Najarian on similar charges, passed down the sentence. Kyle said the probation could be reduced if Condie completes his community service early.
Vincent Louwagie, Condie’s attorney, said the sentence was fairly lenient compared to the 12 to 18 months of prison time Condie could have received.
When asked how he felt about the sentence, Condie simply said, “I’m relieved.”
Condie pleaded guilty to the charges in August in exchange for his cooperation in the case.
In February, Najarian was acquitted on 21 counts of embezzling money from the University, double-billing for travel expenses, obstructing a grand jury investigation and filing false tax returns.
Condie, an immunologist, was expected to be the prosecution’s main witness to the conspiracy charge he and Najarian shared. The prosecution maintained Najarian and Condie covered up patients’ deaths in the ALG study and lied to the Food and Drug Administration about sale of the drug.
Louwagie asked for leniency in the sentencing hearing.
“Dick Condie has already been punished,” Louwagie said, adding that Condie lost his job in 1993 and spent about 900 hours poring over thousands of documents to help the prosecutors.
Officials from the U.S. attorney’s office said Condie has paid $31,000 in back taxes, interest and penalties and has paid the University $80,000 in restitution.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hank Shea agreed with Louwagie’s request for a lighter sentence and submitted a motion for leniency. But, before Kyle handed down a sentence, Shea said Condie’s attempt to defraud the FDA should not be taken lightly.
“We should not encourage anybody in the medical profession to play God,” Shea said.
Louwagie also said his client should get a lenient sentence because of his contributions to society. Condie served in the Marines during World War II and has authored or co-authored more than 100 articles for medical journals and other publications. Because Condie is turning 70 in August and suffers from severe arthritis, he would suffer greatly if he were imprisoned, Louwagie said.
Before he was sentenced, Condie, in a broken voice, apologized to his family and the court for his role in the ALG controversy.
“I’m sorry that my conduct contributed to the loss of a life-saving drug,” Condie said.
Condie would not comment on whether he thought Najarian was guilty of the charges he faced early this year. He also said he has not seen the surgeon since the trial.
Although Condie gave up his right to a trial when he pleaded guilty, he could still appeal the sentence. He and Louwagie have 10 days to appeal, but both said they are content with the sentence.
“Justice was served,” Louwagie said.