The “Rewards” of Whistle-Blowing
Dear Editor: I commendfor proactively covering CME compliance. In your “Compliance Is Good Business” editorial [December 2003], you opened with the percent settlement that whistle-blowers are entitled to. While it is true that whistle-blowers get significant sums if the lawsuit is settled, I think it is unlikely that pharma employees find this financial “reward” incentive enough to endure the expenses involved — both emotionally and financially (since the employee would be retaining his or her attorney without ever knowing if the case will go anywhere), not to mention the unwelcome publicity that comes with being a whistle-blower.
As an industry medical-science liaison, I watched the evolution of the Parke-Davis case, where the [whistle-blower] was a medical-science liaison for the company. I chose to enter this profession because I, like many of my peers, believe that this role allows me to conduct myself with integrity and to remain scientifically fair-balanced. If I were to witness or participate in practices that violate my professional ethics, erode my credibility with physicians, and potentially put patients at risk — how much money I could possibly garner in a qui tam case would be the last thing on my mind. I'd prefer to work with my company to rectify the situation so that the company is compliant and I can return to doing what I find rewarding — as a medical-science liaison professional.
Jane Chin, PhD
Redondo Beach Calif.