Teva's new CEO says compliance is an 'absolute priority'

Compliance enforcement agencies apparently need not look at Teva Pharmaceuticals anymore.

"It is an absolute priority for Teva that our business and people always do the right thing," new chief executive officer Jeremy Levin declared in recent conference call with analysts.

Levin was named Jan. 1 to replace Shlomo Yanai as president and CEO. After finishing his chores at Bristol-Myers Squibb and then spending a couple months learning about Teva, Levin officially took over May 10.

He said he plans to review the entire operation and deliver a new strategy by year's end. Meanwhile, he said he has asked others in the organizations whether the company needs all of the facilities it has. A Teva spokeswoman said she could not be certain that the company would go through with construction planned for the former Budd Co., site in Northeast Philadelphia. The Inquirer story is here.

Asked by an analyst if there were any "acute compliance issues" Levin thought he should reveal to analysts, Levin said, "It's really important for me to mention this as I begin my journey as Teva's CEO. My statements do not imply the existence of any material issues. We have 74 plants and I am committed to both compliance and quality as core to the company. Of course, if any material issues arise in the future, we'll comply with disclosure obligations."

In 2011, Teva spent $6.8 billion to buy Malvern-based Cephalon, which has had bouts of difficulty complying with FDA law.

As Teva noted in a recent filing with Securities and Exchange Commission:

"In 2008, Cephalon entered into settlement agreements with the U.S. government and various parties and states relating to allegations of off-label promotion of Actiq, Provigil, and Gabitril. In connection with the settlements, Cephalon agreed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor violation of the U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, pay a fine and settlement, and enter into a five-year corporate integrity agreement with the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Justice. Cephalon continues to defend against putative class action complaints regarding its sales and marketing practices with respect to such products. Additionally, Cephalon has received and is responding to subpoenas related to Treanda, Nuvigil, Provigil and Fentora."