Saturday, November 04, 2006

"Would-be Whistleblowers: Never Tell Your Employer"

Press release from Pharma Manufacturing:

Would-be Whistleblowers: Never Tell Your Employer, Urges Three-Time Pharma Industry Informant, Peter Rost

Download this press release as an Adobe PDF document.

Marketing professional-turned-author Peter Rost discusses the perils of whistleblowing, and his upcoming novel, "The Wolfpack," in an exclusive video interview on

ITASCA, IL (PRWeb) November 3, 2006 -- When one finds serious compliance issues at work, conventional wisdom holds that it's best to work through official corporate channels to resolve them.

In reality, that's usually not the best course of action. In fact, it's most likely to get one fired, demoted or worse. In a new video interview, Dr. Peter Rost, who "blew the whistle" on alleged marketing and financial compliance issues at Wyeth, Pharmacia and Pfizer, and whose recent book "Whistleblower: Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman" describes his experience, speaks candidly about what he's learned.

"If I had it to do all over again," he says, "I would have gone, immediately to the authorities, whether the police or the Department of Justice, when problems were discovered---or, at least, much sooner than I did."

Well-meaning employees who attempt to work issues out with their corporations often get entangled in a complex web of legal issues and corporate deceit, he suggests.

In the interview with Newark Star-Ledger healthcare reporter Ed Silverman, a contributor to, Dr. Rost reveals why he remained at Pfizer for as long as he did, and why he decided to speak out, so publicly, on drug reimportation at a highly sensitive time in his career.

He also discusses blogging, his critics, the spat with Huffington Post, and his new career as a writer. As it turns out, "the truth is stranger than fiction," he says. For instance, he just learned that the high-security bunker that he dreamed up and described in his upcoming thriller, "The Wolfpack," actually exists.

Although pegged as an industry critic, Dr. Rost has high praise for much of what the pharmaceutical industry does. "There are many excellent people working in the industry, and I devoted 20 years of my life to it," he says.

Rost is one of the most widely recognized of a small group of insiders who have criticized the drug industry and regulatory agencies in the hopes of improving them. PharmaManufacturing will be profiling other whistleblowers, industry leaders and critics, in a series of print, audio and video interviews next year.

For more information, visit To download the video or a full transcript of the interview, visit


Anonymous said...

What a shame that this and similar info is coming out now. Friend who blew the whistle internally on one as big as pfizer, got the treatment one would not want to go trough. He is out of job, lost a lot of income and the whole incident was covered up internally by the company. Code violations were admitted, corrections made with most likely all the evidence deleted from computers etc. One thing though, the copies of documents exist in numerous friendly hands and the friend may blow the wistle externally if still possible. He is still in bad shape, needs advice and help with the whole thing. We around him are looking and hope to find solution.
He made a classic mistake as discussed in this segment. Did not know better. Now others may.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Rost,

I have just finished reading your book, "The Whistleblower" which was an amazing eye opener!!! The book caught my eye in a bookstore last week and I thought it would be of great value for me, a soon to be RN BN working in the US as soon as I get my visa. Being from Canada, I am used to perscription drug prices being reasonable - and even more so for me, by which my additional insurance covers 80% of our already decreased medication costs in Canada. Something urgently needs to be done, in my opinion, about the cost of these medications in the United States, since for being a 1st world country and leader in the free world, it still amazes me that corporations and government will do this to their own people. I think you are phenomenally brave for risking your career, livlihood and family for speaking out about what you know and believe is right. As a fellow health professional, thank you, thank you, thank you! Being a patient advocate isn't just about speaking up in the hospitals when a patient is in the bed in front of you, but it is also about speaking up for their rights even in the huge global world of medication affordability, and in essence, the right to live no matter what your income or insurance coverage!

I will definitely be checking your blog on a regular basis!

MsMelody said...


Well said--particularly it still amazes me that corporations and government will do this to their own people.

The problem becomes that there are VERY FEW like Peter Rost. And the rest of us--consumers who know wrongdoing is going on but who do not have insider information--have no recourse. Chronic disease consumers rarely have the resourses to tackle Big Pharma. When we turn to regulatory agencies (FDA, FTC, DOJ)--we find they are unwilling to bite the hand that feeds THEM! They may attempt to investigate, but usually just report to the consumer the tripe that is passed to them from the PR people at Big Pharma.

If you turn to the legal profession--oftentimes, they want to help ONLY when a case is easily provable . . . or when it involves such a large group that a class action "settlement" will reward them with multimillion dollar attorney fees.

While I know there are concerned and moral people in our society, the preponderance seems to exhibit the "every man for himself" syndrome, or, at least, learned ignorance.

With the current sex scandals emanating from Congress, how many powerful people claim "I didn't know this was going on"? Even when facts prove that they were told, they rely on (their proclaimed) ignorance and (our) apathy to escape accountability.

I have been seeking redress for the removal of animal insulin from the market for years. Eli Lilly, with close ties to the Bush family, seems well situated to weather any attempt to disrupt their "business model." Where to go . . . what to do . . . hope for a white knight from the insulin cartel to get an attack of morality?

Check out the intro at Too Profitable to Cure.

Anonymous said...

I wasn´t aware of your book but I will try to get it soon.

I am a whistleblower (within the EU-Commission) myself and just founded an initiative in Germany ( Perhaps you might want to take a look or even join it.

Guido Strack

Anonymous said...

Here is the issue and deal: There are numerous decent employees at big pahram companies that know what is going on. Many have hard proof, evidence, documents, tapes etc. Few would blow. They need thier jobs, careers but do not like what they are asked/orderd to do for the cause and glory of the company. In spite of this they do it. They carry out the orderes, be it ethical, legal or unethical, imoral, illegal and criminal. As we saw in the book, if they do not do it, out you go, reason insubordination, period. In times of war, at least in the past, you do not obey the order you go against the wall. You carry out the order, after the war you are a war criminal. "But your honor I was just doing my job by executing the orders of my superiors". This doe not excuse you, for you were supposed to refuse the order that was not "kosher". Classic case of between the rock and hard place, catch 22, 33 you name it.
What about us with big pharma today. When ordered to promote a drug for unapproved indication, bribe the doctor, make false claims etc. are we not in the same situation? Well no one goes against the wall but lot lose their jobs.
Why not fight back on big scale if it is possible.
CLASS ACTION SUIT AGINST EVERY BIG PHARMA CO. INDIVIDUALLY, brought down by those employees of these companies who have the proof that they were deliberately asked/ordered to do the wrong, illegal, criminal things for the company. I do not know if this is possible, but perhaps there are those who do.It is logical that no company can order an employee to do the wrong thing unless its name is SOPRANO pharma Inc. Maybe Peter's lawyer Jon who could give an advice over the blog. Imagine it it were. Pfizer's, Bayer's, Glaxo's, Novartis', Wyet's, BMS's, Schering's, Merck's and so on, employees banding together and bringing these companies down to where they belong. Maybe this is one of the ways we can clean this vital industry for the benefit of all mankind. It could be an amazing industry that would equally benefit everyone involved. Shareholders, scientists, physicians, employees, patients, sociaties, public etc. Not just the "barons" of the industry and their appologists.
How about it?
P.S. If Kramer could sue the heiress to the O'Henry fortune for far lesser offence, why not us. We would not take an advice by caddy at the crutial moment.

MsMelody said...

Open Vault--

Great idea . . . but finding a lawyer is THE problem. Unless you can find a committed whistleblower inside EACH pharmaceutical company, and present a law firm with incontrovertible evidence that a criminal act has been committed, the response from the legal profession will be a resounding, "Yeah, the case might be (is definitely) winnable, but it will take us so-o-o-o-o much time, and so-o-o-o-o-o much money that we prefer to pursue other cases. (Been there--done that.) Lawyers provide us--the Average Janes & Joes--our only interface with the justice system. Maybe if/when one of these attorneys is harmed by a dangerous or wrongly-prescribed drug, they will seek redress; until then, we are left hanging.

I'm sure if Average Jane or Average Joe had DEEP pockets, and could underwrite the issue(s) that would take so-o-o-o-o long to prosecute, we might have more immediate access to the justice system . . . but then again, that's why we are called Average, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Ms. Melody's assesment is basically right, but even she admits that the committed whistleblower (WB) inside the wolf's cave is the key. All it would take one committed WB with hard evidence that, say sales reps. were asked/orders to do illegal business practices and few or number of others from same Co that would join in the class action, and any half a.... lawyer would jump on it. In USA you are looking at big pharma - big $$ if one is successful.
Open vault - is sure that he has such hard evidence, and would love to quote few here but that would possibly unmask him. Open Vault is also sure that as Pfizer "boys" are watching this blog so are the boys from other big pharma. Every one of them has what Peter already discussed, security services that are usually FBI, CIA and KGB rolled into one, and they are watching over the security of thirs and believe it or not , other big pharma co's. After all they are only competitors not enemies. No big pharma Co would take another down. They would take them over, buy them out, in frendly or so called unfreindly manner, destroy the DNA of taken over Co. (Pharmacia's faith done by Pfizer), but destroy, NEVER.

ps; We maybe witnessing an earlstage of building of the critical mass for the people and once it is there it will do its job. So everyone "keep spreading the news" as Frank S. used to sing.

MsMelody said...

Pharmagossip posted a message regarding how Jane Pauley was "duped." She is suing NYT and another publisher for turning her "interview" into an endorsement of pharmaceuticals. Whether she was really duped, I guess, will be a matter for the civil court of the southern district of New York.

Maybe she's just mad that she didn't get paid for a commercial endorsement. But then, again, maybe she was preyed on by publishers BUT ALSO by Eli Lilly and other psychotropic drug manufacturers.

Eric Schlosser, in Fast Food Nation makes this statement in recounting the interaction of the upper executives of multinational conglomerates, which well defines what the Average Jane and Joe are up against:

"We have a saying at this company," he said [an Archer Daniels Midland executive speaking]. "Our competitors are our friends, and our customers are our enemies."

Since we are not only their customers, but their enemies, we would be well advised to remember that "all is fair in love and war" and expect, as the underdog, to be treated as enemy combatants. (Does this have echoes of WWII-era drug/chemical companies prospering in Germany?)