United States healthcare spending was $2.3 trillion in 2010 and more than any country in the world. The United States is the largest pharmaceutical market globally with 2012 pharmaceutical sales estimated to exceed the whopping $880 Billion spent in 2011. The competitive race to discover the next "miracle" drug often leads pharmaceutical companies to spend massive amounts of capital in the pursuit of profits and recognition. Although it is important companies be properly compensated for the expenditure and time in testing new drugs and developing them, the desire to earn profits and market share can also lead drug companies to mislead about test results, cherry-pick data in an effort to present the most favorable position, and cut corners while investigating the safety of new drugs. The results of such actions or inactions can ultimately put many people at risk of being catastrophically injured by new drugs.
Pharmaceutical Company Profit Pressures
Public pharmaceutical company earnings are under massive pressure due to factors like:
- High R&D expenses
- Regulatory issues
- Legal costs
- Length of time for FDA approvals
Ferretti v. Pfizer: PanHER
Pfizer was the #1 highest revenue pharmaceutical firm in 2010 with $58.4 billion and remains one of the giants of the industry. Yet the pressures to remain at the top, create new "miracle" drugs, and appease shareholders are possible driving factors behind the PanHER case. Gwilliam, Chiosso, Cavalli, & Brewer plaintiff Delina Ferretti, a former Pfizer Director – Oncology and a lead clinical protocol manager, is pursuing claims that she was fired by the pharmaceutical giant for blowing the whistle on "dirty" data and other irregularities. Examples of the problems Ferretti encountered:
- Found hundreds of instances of prohibited drugs being used by people in the study
- Adverse events caused by PanHER were not reported to the Food and Drug Administration
- Results of the study of PanHER was misleading, and potentially grossly inaccurate
Ms. Ferretti brought these disturbing irregularities to her superiors at Pfizer, who reportedly did nothing to rectify the errors. The executive claims that after the findings were reported, the company created a hostile work environment. The executive did transfer out of the PanHER program, but was ultimately fired from Pfizer.
Retaliation in California
California law protects employees from employer actions of retaliation. Specifically the law protects, from retaliation, employees who resist or object to discrimination or harassment. It is unlawful for employers to:
- Discriminate against any person because the person has opposed any practices forbidden under this part or because the person has filed a complaint, testified, or assisted in any proceeding under this part
- Fail to promote
Unfortunately the PanHER case is not an anomaly in the pharmaceutical industry. With the recent $3 billion GlaxoSmithKline settlement, for not fully disclosing safety data and promoting and selling antidepressants for uses not approved by the FDA, consumers are more concerned than ever for their health and safety. Industry professionals are also concerned and many have taken the first, brave step to reporting malicious corporate activities.
If you or a family member has been a victim of retaliation in the workplace due to your reporting malicious corporate practices, Gwilliam, Ivary, Chiosso, Cavalli, & Brewer has successfully represented plaintiffs in these stressful situations. We take a holistic approach to each case by assigning one of the firm’s partners (25 to 40 years of trial experience), an associate attorney, a paralegal and a secretary. This approach has been successful and enables us to devote the necessary time and attention to case preparation and research. Most importantly, this approach also ensures that someone who is familiar with your case will almost always be available to respond to your needs and answer your questions along the way.