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Whistleblowers Played Major Role In Glaxo Case, Leading To Glaxo's Record Settlement

Gerahty said he felt the same way.

"I also felt that other employees had been scapegoated along the way for the very practices Glaxo encouraged," Gerahty said.  "That bothered me. We were worried that blowing the whistle would hurt our careers but felt that it was the right thing to do."

Attorney Kelton said Glaxo's Advair marketing practices were a major concern from the start. Gerahty and Burke provided evidence that Glaxo's off-label marketing efforts for Advair began when the drug was launched and continued into 2010, even while the Justice Department's investigation was ongoing.

"Glaxo practices were particularly troubling when it came to promoting Advair off-label, according to our complaint," Kelton said. "Glaxo allegedly manipulated and misinterpreted data in scientific studies it sponsored, paid off doctors in various ways, urged them to prescribe Advair first line, and trained its sales staff to provide misleading information to doctors who had medical concerns about using Advair for their mild asthma patients."

Both Gerahty and Burke expressed relief that a settlement was reached.

"We thought when we first filed our case that it would be resolved in a few years," said Gerahty. "Instead, it took over nine years and was quite a roller-coaster ride. But the end result is good. We're very glad that our case has had an impact on Glaxo's sales practices, and that along with other whistleblower cases it may help change the way Glaxo and other pharma companies do business."

Under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers who file qui tam lawsuits are entitled to 15 percent to 30 percent of the amount the government recovers in a civil settlement as a result of their cases.  The reward in this case hasn't yet been determined. 

Attorney Kelton, Gerahty and Burke expressed thanks to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sara Bloom and Edwin Winstead, Justice Department attorney Andy Mao, Robert Patten with the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, John Guthrie of the Ohio Attorney General's Office and all the attorneys, agents, investigators, paralegals and other federal and state personnel who helped bring about this historic result.

Citation for Phillips & Cohen's case: United States et al. ex rel. Gerahty, et al. v. GSK et al.,

Civ. No. 03-10641 (D. Mass.)

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