Four years ago, Min Amy Guo, a former executive with drug company Novartis, filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging wrongful termination after she raised concerns that a drug study may be a type of kickback. Now, the case has finally concluded with a jury ruling in her favor and awarding her $1.5 million.
The study focused on Afinitor, a cancer drug, and was to be conducted by McKesson, a drug distribution company. Novartis initially proposed the study in 2012, but rather than assigning the project to her team, as would have been the standard protocol considering she ran the Health Economics and Outcomes Research Group for the company, the study was instead given to the Oncology Scientific Operations-Managed Markets group, a team that primarily focuses on client interaction.
Another Novartis executive eventually raised the same concerns Go did, and the company canceled the contract. However, Guo claimed Novartis still retaliated against her and fired her for blowing the whistle.
This was not the first time Novartis has been claimed of violating anti-kickback laws. The company has also been the subject of allegations that it was regularly buying scripts with kickbacks to doctors. The company also was the center of national controversy after revelations it paid former Donald Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen $1.2 million for consulting services as the presidential transition was ongoing.
Courts take whistleblower retaliation seriously
Businesses and organizations already stand to be heavily punished when they violate state or federal laws. However, the penalties they face become even more significant when they attempt to silence whistleblowers through retaliation or termination. Federal law affords whistleblowers some significant protections against retaliation, and whistleblowers who lose their jobs for speaking up stand to earn significant amounts of money in some cases.
For further guidance on the steps you should take if you are the victim of whistleblower retaliation, contact an experienced attorney with Kardell Law Group.