Pfizer Whistleblower Tops Business Ethics List


Strict Standards: Declaration of C_DataMapper_Driver_Base::define() should be compatible with C_Component::define($context = false) in /nfs/c06/h01/mnt/156219/domains/ on line 0

Pharma Blog » 2009 » December » 18

A Pfizer Whistleblower Tops Business Ethics List

By Ed Silverman // December 18th, 2009 // 4:44 pm

 The most influential person in the world of business ethics is someone who blew the whistle on Pfizer. John Kopchinski, a former sales rep whose lawsuit led to the record breaking, eye rolling, jaw dropping $2.3 billion settlement, was given this honor by the Ethisphere Institute, a think tank that is dedicated to what it calls “the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability.”

The choice, of course, would appear to be a determined reminder for Pfizer, and the pharmaceutical industry, in general, that corporate behavior matters. Kopschinski exposed the drugmaker’s illegal sales and marketing efforts to promote its Bextra painkiller. Federal prosecutors, you may recall, announced the settlement in September (here is the lawsuit, a link to exhibits and Justice Department statement).

In reaching its decision, Ethisphere placed Kopchinski in the ‘media and whistleblower’ category, and the think tank then decides whether an individual raised awareness on a critical issue or exposed corruption. “Kopchinski blew the whistle on Pfizer’s marketing activity and received $51.1 million of the penalty that Pfizer paid for illegally marketing some of its drugs. Four other whistleblowers received some of the award as well, but Kopchinski earned the largest piece of the pie for his role. Officially turned whistleblowing into big business,” according to Ethisphere.

Keep reading to see who else made the list

At No. 5, was Neelie Kroes, the European Union’s Commissioner for Competition. In her last year in this post, the EU remained a leader in the antitrust and cartel-busting world, going after a few industries, including pharma for so-called ‘pay-to-delay’ deals in which brand-name drugmakers allegedly find ways to compensate generic rivals in order to delay lower-cost copycat drugs from reaching patients (see here).

At No. 16 is Chuck Grassley, the Iowa Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, who is probing conflicts of interest among drugmakers, academic researchers and physicians.

And No. 22 is Delos Cosgrove of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, who required all of its physicians and researchers to publicly disclose relationships with drug and device makers as part of the Clinic’s “transparency initiatives involving the conflict of interest and managing innovations processes.”

At No. 57 is Jacqueline Brevard, Merck’s chief ethics and compliance officer, who was placed in the ‘corporate culture’ category for being the longest standing chief ethics and compliance officer of a major company. In 2009, she was active in a number of compliance and ethics initiatives and membership organizations and “set a strong leadership example within the compliance and ethics field.”

At No. 91 is Rich Blumenthal, Connecticut’s Attorney General, who was cited for being one of the leading AGs when it came to protecting consumers against leading issues. For instance, when swine flu became a major story, he investigated the largest pharmacies – CVS, RiteAid and Walgreens – for allegedly inflating prices of Tamiflu after that drug was promoted as a leading anti-flu med.


Read the full blog post here



You can be the first one to leave a comment.


Leave a Comment


You must be logged in to post a comment.