Pharma helps sway SEC on whistleblower rules

Drugmakers must think the last thing the industry needs is another whistleblower program. After all, the False Claims Act's whistleblower provisions have spawned some record-setting fines for off-label marketing and related infractions. But that's just what drugmakers--and the rest of Corporate America--are going to get.

As Pharmalot reports, the Securities & Exchange Commission has been busy working up rules for the whistleblower program mandated by the recent financial reform law. Worried drugmakers--including Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson--made pilgrimages to the SEC in hopes of placing certain restrictions on the program. One sticking point was whether employees could file whistleblower complaints without turning to internal channels first.

Well, the SEC has issued its proposal, and it does indeed discourage potential whistleblowers from bypassing internal controls. It would also exclude employees such as lawyers, auditors and compliance staff, but that exclusion would cease to apply if the company doesn't disclose problems to SEC on a timely basis. The proposal is now open for comment (you can find a link at Pharmalot).

- read the Pharmalot post