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Thursday, 5 July 2012

named GSK whistleblowers to get £ millions - patients as usual get nothing, see FIDDAMAN blog

Glaxo whistleblowers could get millions thanks to Civil War law

Four men will get share of record £1.9bn fine levied on GSK for mis-promotion of drugs in the US

LAST UPDATED AT 10:15 ON Wed 4 Jul 2012

FOUR GlaxoSmithKline whistleblowers whose testimony allowed US authorities to secure a record settlement with the drug company are set to share up to £159m thanks to a law dating back to the Civil War.

Earlier this week the UK pharmaceuticals giant was fined £1.9bn after admitting its US arm mis-promoted two drugs for unauthorised uses, including the treatment of children, and held back safety information on a third drug from America's Food and Drug Administration.

Now the whistleblowers at the centre of the largest healthcare fraud settlement in US history - Greg Thorpe, Thomas Gerahty, Blair Hamrick, and Matthew Burke – are set to cash in.

Under the Federal False Claims Act, a US law dating back to 1863 which was originally designed to stop war profiteering after the Civil War, the men are entitled to a share of the settlement. While the Department of Justice is yet to determine the exact percentage of the fine they will receive, The Telegraph reports that the total sum to be shared will be a minimum of £96m, and could be as high £159m.

For the whistleblowers, it is the reward for a fight that stretches back almost a decade and brought serious financial hardships.

Greg Thorpe, the father of four who has racked up close to $1m in debt since starting the legal action against his old employers in 2003, said the case had taken its toll. "I cannot be certain, if I knew beforehand what was coming after filing this case, that I could do it again."

Blair Hamrick, a Glaxo salesman from Colorado, started his legal action after the company allegedly ignored his concerns over mis-promotion of drugs. Hamrick lost his house after the case begun and said the saga had been "a dark cloud hanging over our heads".

The lawyer for the other two whistleblowers suggested the windfall on its way was deserved: "It was an historic settlement for the US taxpayers and it's important to note that this settlement would not have happened without these men." ·


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