Jury awards former AstraZeneca sales manager $2.4M in whistleblower retaliation case

AstraZeneca and a former sales manager have each scored partial wins in the case of Suzanne Ivie, who alleged the company fired her after she raised concerns of off-label marketing. 

While a federal jury in Oregon found that AstraZeneca violated whistleblower statute by firing Ivie after she made a "good faith" report of alleged marketing misconduct, jurors rejected allegations of age discrimination, Oregonlive reports. The jury didn't hold the drugmaker liable under the False Claims Act for marketing violations, either, according to the publication. 

After a trial that started in mid-June, jurors reached their conclusion Tuesday and awarded Ivie $2.4 million. 

Ivie is in line to receive $1.87 million in damages plus another $510,423 for wages lost. She lost her job in 2019 after 19 years with the company.

RELATED: Ex-sales manager-turned-whistleblower takes AstraZeneca to court in retaliation trial set for next week

During her career, Ivie worked in AZ's respiratory division. After a new director took over in 2018, the director allegedly pushed the team to promote certain AstraZeneca drugs for uses that weren't approved by the FDA. When Ivie refused to play ball and complained to the company, a pattern of retaliation emerged, she claimed.

After raising concerns, Ivie said she was removed from leadership roles, had her bonus slashed and more.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca's lawyer claims Ivie was fired for failing to do the work expected of her as a district sales manager, Oregonlive reports. The company's compliance unit also determined that Ivie's claims of potential off-label marketing were "unsubstantiated," the lawyer said. 

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With regards to age discrimination, AZ's legal team pointed out that Ivie's supervisor was just four years younger than her at 47, Oregonlive reports. Meanwhile, the sales team included other staffers aged 50, 49, 45, 40 and 39.