Dr. William Harwin, a former president and managing partner of Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute LLC (FCS), pleaded guilty recently to a conspiracy charge involving the allocation of oncology treatments for cancer patients in Southwest Florida. The case, filed in the U.S. District Court in Ft. Myers, Florida, revealed that from 1999 to September 2016, Dr. Harwin participated in a scheme to stifle competition. This was achieved by coordinating with another oncology company to allocate chemotherapy treatments to FCS and radiation treatments to the other company in Lee, Collier, and Charlotte Counties.
Dr. Harwin pleaded guilty to violating Section One of the Sherman Act. The sentencing will be scheduled for a later date, during which a federal district court judge will consider various factors, including the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
Emma Burnham, Acting Director of Criminal Enforcement at the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, denounced the lengthy conspiracy for restricting cancer patients’ access to a competitive oncology treatment market. Burnham emphasized that the division will not hesitate to prosecute healthcare providers who prioritize profits over patients.
Special Agent in Charge David Walker of the FBI Tampa Field Office echoed this sentiment, stating that the FBI remains committed to safeguarding patient care and the healthcare marketplace from manipulation.
FCS was previously charged in April 2020 for its role in the same conspiracy. The company entered into a deferred prosecution agreement, acknowledging its participation in the scheme. As part of the agreement, FCS agreed to a $100 million criminal penalty and full cooperation with the Antitrust Division’s ongoing investigation.
The investigation was conducted by the FBI Tampa Field Office – Fort Myers RA. The case is being prosecuted by the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal II Section, with Assistant Chief Mark Grundvig, Senior Trial Counsel Eun-Ha Kim, Trial Attorney Patrick Hallagan, and Trial Attorney Aidan McCarthy, along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. Individuals with information regarding this investigation or other antitrust violations are encouraged to contact the Antitrust Division’s Complaint Center.