GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) wasn't amused by the 60 Minutes feature on whistleblower Cheryl Eckard, whose allegations against the company led to a $750 million settlement with the U.S. Justice Department. The drugmaker issued a statement rebutting some implications in the report, namely that patients might have been hurt by medication mix-ups at its now-closed plant in Cidra, Puerto Rico. "GSK strongly disagrees" with the implication that patients were harmed, the statement says.
"The FDA; the U.S. Department of Justice; and Neil Getnick, Cheryl Eckard's attorney, all stated there was no indication that" production problems at Cidra hurt anyone, the statement says. Plus, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz, in announcing last year's $750 million settlement of charges that GSK distributed adulterated meds, noted that her office had found no evidence that patients were hurt.
The company also took issue with the suggestion that it retaliated against Eckard after she lambasted conditions at the Cidra plant. GSK workers are "encouraged" to report their concerns to management or to a confidential compliance hotline, the statement explains. "Issues raised are investigated, and company policy prohibits any retaliation against employees."