Ex-exec gets 9 months for fatal bone cement trial

PHILADELPHIA - November 21, 2011

Former Synthes North America President Michael Huggins, of West Chester, Pa., is the first of four executives being sentenced Monday for the bone-cement testing. They pleaded guilty to misdemeanors as "responsible corporate officers."

U.S. District Judge Legrome Davis called the actions of company officials "egregious." He denied a bid for probation and ordered Huggins to prison immediately.

Prosecutors say the executives bypassed safety rules and let surgeons test bone cement in frail patients, even though animals had died almost instantly in earlier tests.

The other defendants are former Senior Vice President Thomas Higgins, of Berwyn; former Vice President Richard Bohner, of Malvern; and ex-Director of Regulatory Affairs John Walsh, of Coatesville.

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