JOBS, fraud, pain meds and Pfizer trims severance pay

We'll end the week with a couple things worth mentioning.


President Obama signed a bill that got through both houses of Congress - pause to consider that for a moment - which touches investors and the business community: The Jumpstart our Business Startups (JOBS) Act.

Consumer groups fret that the law will lessens protections for investors because businesses won't have to disclose as much information, but many business groups were happy.

Pennsylvania Bio is among the latter.

"The JOBS Act creates an 'on-ramp' to the public market for emerging growth companies, allowing them five years to focus on conducting critical research before having to divert funds to costly regulations," Pa. Bio said in a statement. "In particular, emerging growth companies will be exempt for their first five years on the public market from the compliance burdens of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Section 404(b), which SEC studies estimate cost companies up to $2 million per year. Additionally, the on-ramp will ease certain accounting and disclosure requirements for a company’s first five years."

The rest of the Pa. Bio statement is here.

Health care fraud:

The federal government's efforts to fight health-care fraud continue. Attorney General Eric Holder and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius were in Chicago to discuss the topic at a health care summit.

The conviction and prison sentence for a former Temple doctor for Medicare fraud was among the recent local examples.

"Attorney General Holder just spoke about law enforcement’s strong commitment to stamping out fraud," Sebelius said in her speech. "More boots on the ground has meant more criminals locked up, more schemes taken down, and a stronger health care system for the rest of us.

"But we're not just prosecuting fraud. We're also taking steps to prevent it.

"In the past, nearly anyone could fill out a form and become a Medicare provider. In a matter of weeks, criminals could set up false clinics, enlist willing accomplices and vulnerable seniors to submit false claims and begin collecting payments. For industrious criminals, this approach was a ripe target......Today, before you can become a Medicare provider, you have to go through a rigorous third-party review process that will make sure you meet all the requirements to bill Medicare."

A link to the text of Sebelius' speech is here.

A link to the text of Holders' speech is here.

Crackdown on pain pills:

The Wall Street Journal and NBC News reported that federal authorities' attempts to crackdown on abuse of prescriptions for pain medication extended to six Walgreen stores and distribution center in Florida.

CVS Caremark stores and a facility for distributor Cardinal Health were targets of earlier raids and investigations.

The link to the Journal story is here.

Pfizer to pay less severance:

Bloomberg News reported Friday morning that Pfizer will cut the severance package given to workers fired after May 14. The link to the story is here.

The drugmaker, which is headquartered in Manhattan but has a big facility in Collegeville, has fired 26,000 workers in the last three year.

For those U.S. workers laid off after May 14, severance will be cut to eight weeks from 12, and health benefits will last eight weeks rather than a year. As with some companies, employees get additional weeks of pay and health insurance the longer they’ve been with the company.

Bloomberg said it obtained the memo from a Pfizer employee and spokeswoman Joan Campion confirmed the content.

Just a reminder, we're happy to field your internal memos and my email address is dsell@