During a recent 60 Minutes investigative report, GlaxoSmithKline, a major worldwide provider of prescription drugs, was exposed for their cover up in the early 2000s of mixing up drugs at a Puerto Rico plant, and whistleblower Cheryl Eckard was awarded a sum of $96 million of the total amount of $750 million due to the pharmaceutical litigation and financial settlement.
The plant was mixing up drugs, putting different dosage sizes and different medications together in mislabeled bottles, and shipping them all over the world, including the United States. A grandmother of an 8-year-old boy found that the pills of Paxil that her grandson had been taking the entire month were 25mg pills, not the regular 10mg pills he’d been previously taking. The child was very sick from taking the pills, which had been colored pink instead of the regular, yellow-colored pills.
GSK Denies, Denies, and Denies
When Eckard brought this to the attention of quality control, they all but ignored her and told her it wasn’t really happening. She wrote up report after report, but her warnings were falling on deaf ears. She even suggested shutting down the plant completely, but to the executives at GSK, that wasn’t financially possible, and simply sweeping it under the rug was a better option in their minds.
Drugs such as Paxil and Avandia were regularly being interchanged as were diabetes medications and anti-depressants. After bringing these issues to GSK’s attention, she was promptly “downsized” and was out of a job.
The Outcome and Ensuing Lawsuit
Eckard eventually brought a lawsuit against GSK and the criminal charges were settled for a whopping $750 million. For her part, Eckard received $96 million. The question had to eventually come up that she only did it for the money and she didn’t really care about anybody, but this absolutely not true if you watched the video. She seemed to generally care about the welfare of others and the money was simply the punishment that GSK had to go through to correct their ways.
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