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whistleblower 959 articles

Lawsuit accuses Takeda of hiding bladder cancer Actos risks

A Kentucky man is suing Actos manufacturer Takeda Pharmaceuticals, claiming the popular diabetes drug caused him to develop bladder cancer. The man and his wife filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court, naming Japan-based Takeda and its subsidiary companies as defendants, as well as U.S.-based Eli Lilly, which partnered with Takeda to market Actos in the United States and Canada. In addition to bladder cancer and resulting illnesses, the plaintiffs assert Actos caused other bodily injuries, diminished enjoyment of life, economic losses, and other damages. According to the lawsuit, the link between Actos and bladder cancer was no secret ... Read More

Unnecessary surgeries were performed for profit and promotion, whistleblower lawsuit alleges

A whistleblower lawsuit filed against The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s (UPMC) Hamot campus under the False Claims Act accuses the hospital and five cardiologists of defrauding Medicare and a number of patients by participating in a kickback scheme from 2001 to 2005 that involved performing unneeded heart operations. According to Pennsylvania’s Erie Times-News, “The suit claims the doctors, part of Medicor Associates Inc., performed unnecessary surgical procedures to make more money for themselves and Hamot and to promote the development of a cardiovascular surgery program at Hamot.” The lawsuit also contends that “Hamot overbilled Medicare in exchange for referrals ... Read More

Whistleblower receives $21 million for exposing health care fraud

A former senior financial analyst for a Florida-based health plan provider will receive nearly $21 million for his role in exposing his employer’s fraudulent business practices, which involved double billing Medicare and Medicaid. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Sean Hellein, who worked for WellCare Health Plans in Tampa, secretly recorded company executives in 2006 discussing ways to double bill the government health programs. As an administer of managed-care plans for 2.6 million Medicare and Medicaid patients, WellCare is required to refund a percentage of unspent funds. Mr. Hellein’s information led to an FBI raid on WellCare’s Tampa headquarters in ... Read More

Injured Pfizer worker blows whistle on unpoliced biotech hazards

Becky McClain was a molecular biologist working for Pfizer Inc. when she was allegedly injured on the job after being exposed to a highly secretive virus in the company’s Groton, Connecticut, laboratories. McClain filed a number of complaints with Pfizer in an effort to address safety concerns that put both workers and the public at risk. But instead of fixing the problem, Pfizer turned its back on Ms. McClain’s complaints and fired her. Today, two years after winning a $1.27 million judgment against Pfizer and an additional $910,000 for attorney’s fees and punitive damages awarded by a judge last year, ... Read More

“Reluctant whistleblower” tells Reuters about pink slime in ground beef

The national outrage over chemically treated meat scraps dubbed “pink slime” and sold to unsuspecting consumers as ground beef started with a disapproving email written by a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) microbiologist to a colleague. According to Reuters, in 2002 USDA food scientist Gerald Zimstein was assigned to a project analyzing ground beef products and what was being added to them. Mr. Zimstein was thus familiar with the Beef Industry’s efforts to get approval on a product it called “finely textured ground beef,” which is made by grinding connective tissue and other meat scrap products into a paste and ... Read More

Florida school fired whistleblower who voiced safety concerns, OSHA says

PALMETTO, FL–The Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto, Florida, is being sued by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for firing an employee who blew the whistle on alleged safety hazards at the school. According to OSHA, the employee submitted a letter to his supervisor on June 20, 2009, warning of improperly placed extension cords and the lack of sprinkler systems in the Manatee School’s two theaters. School authorities never responded to the letter or the concerns it expressed. The employee then filed a complaint with OSHA on July 14, and on July 30 regulators from OSHA’s ... Read More

Whistleblower sues Takeda for downplaying Actos heart risks

A U.S. unit of Japan-based Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. downplayed the seriousness of hundreds of cases of congestive heart failure linked to its diabetes drug Actos to federal regulators, a Takeda employee alleges in a whistle-blower lawsuit she brought against the company. All pharmaceutical companies are required by law to report adverse drug reactions to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS). This information updates the drug database and keeps regulators apprised of safety concerns that could influence how the drug is marketed. Helen Ge, a medical reviewer for the Actos manufacturer, alleges that from 2007 to ... Read More

Whistleblowers key in the fight against fraud

Whistleblowers have become one of the federal government’s most valuable tools in its ongoing efforts to crack down on corporate wrongdoing and recover money lost to overbilling and other fraudulent activities. Healthcare is one industry that is particularly rampant with financial fraud, and it’s fallen at the center of recent bipartisan efforts in Washington to fight back. A congressional coalition beefed up the False Claims Act in 2009, making it easier for the government to use the law. Additionally, the Obama Administration has called for better fraud-busting health care laws and a bigger budget to use them effectively. Tony West, ... Read More

NC company ordered to reinstate driver fired for reporting faulty brakes

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered a North Carolina commercial printing company to reinstate a former truck driver it fired after he reported safety concerns about his company-owned truck. An investigation conducted under OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program found that Salisbury-based Rowan Business Forms violated the Surface Transportation Assistance Act’s whistleblower provision when it fired its driver for reporting a dangerous mechanical problem that affected his ability to brake properly. In addition to reinstatement, OSHA also ordered Rowan Business Forms and its owners and officers to pay the former driver more than $83,000 in back wages, interest, ... Read More

Railway company fined and ordered to reinstate injured worker

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered Omaha, Nebraska-based Union Pacific Railroad Co. to immediately reinstate an employee in Idaho who was fired after reporting a work-related injury and to pay the employee more than $300,000 in back wages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys fees. The employee filed a whistleblower complaint with OSHA, alleging suspension without pay and then termination after notifying the company of an on-the-job injury. OSHA’s investigation found the disciplinary charges and termination did not stem from the complainant breaking a work rule but merely on reporting an injury to the railroad. The ... Read More