“Legally Speaking” Radio: Discussing Whistleblowing, Pharma and More
When you appear on radio, especially for an hour, it seems like a lot of time to fill. But on April 4, I learned just how fast the time passes.
On this broadcast of “Legally Speaking” hosted by Robert Szostak of Lansdale’s Rubin Glickman, we covered whistleblower qui tam and False Claims Act, pharma product liability, and payments to doctors. Bob did a great job guiding our conversation, and had done his homework on me and my firm.
My goal was to have a real discussion on what these matters mean to consumers and patients. All too often, there’s a “doesn’t apply to me” meme out there, where someone doesn’t care until they or someone they care about is hurt by corporate wrongdoing or dangerous drugs. Without a type of checks and balances system between the legal system and corporations, particularly “big pharma,” you can’t always be sure these corporations have your best interests at heart. You may think their ads and PR are warm and fuzzy, but I believe it’s caveat emptor, buyer beware.
Case in point as it applies to whistleblowers: our firm represents pharma reps who’ve seen things at the companies that they know is questionable, if not downright illegal. They are concerned and although sometimes conflicted about coming forward, feel compelled to do the right thing. What happens is in more than a few cases the pharma whistleblowers bring to light is something that can affect consumer health or be fraud against the government. This could be false claims as to the benefits of the drug or device and illegal marketing of drugs not approved by the FDA and other matters.
Our firm works with whistleblowers in all industries and the government, not just pharma. In all of these, the one thing a potential whistleblower should know is that you can meet with us and learn whether your concern is viable as a case. We caution potential whistleblowers about not going directly to a company or talking to anyone, even family, until you learn your options. Some whistleblowers experience retaliation at work for reporting wrongdoing- this is illegal, there are protections but you have to know your options. With us, information is power.
Dangerous, Defective Drugs
Bob also asked me to speak about pharma product liability. Some of the most heartbreaking cases are firm handles are where the side effects of drugs have harmed children. We’re currently preparing for litigation representing dozens of boys who have developed breasts. Our claim is that the antipsychotic drug Risperdal has caused this condition, in some cases requiring mastectomies. Sad. Stay tuned to my blog for results on these cases.
“Dollars for Docs”
Last, we discussed how pharmaceutical companies issue payments to doctors. There’s been much more scrutiny about why they’re paid, how much, and whether this is legal. Can you count on your doctor to prescribe the best drug for your condition? Would it bother you to know the doc accepted money from a manufacturer?
An excellent resource on this topic, and a search function to see if your doctor has taken pharma money, is the Pro Publica website “Dollars for Docs.”