Sales-meeting stealth was all in a day's work for J&J whistleblower

Six whistleblowers are collecting some serious dough for helping the U.S. Department of Justice tag Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) with off-label marketing. Under the False Claims Act, they're due a percentage of the $2.2 billion settlement, and in this case, that's more than $20 million each.

Interested to know what those whistleblowers did to earn their share? Bloomberg has a behind-the-scenes look at the former salespeople who teamed up with DoJ investigators.

Judy Doetterl, who raised allegations that J&J was marketing the antipsychotic drug Risperdal for unapproved uses, went undercover. She spent two days wearing a wire at a company sales meeting in a Dallas hotel to gather evidence. She had to skulk out of the sessions regularly to zip upstairs to a hotel room where investigators were working.

"I was concerned that I would be found out accidentally and someone would see me go into a room to meet the agent," Doetterl told the news service. "I had to change battery packs every four hours. I knew in the end I was doing the right thing."

Bloomberg has more of the skinny on the various whistleblower cases, beginning with the first, filed by ex-sales rep Victoria Starr in 2004, and on the investigations that ensued. Whistleblower attorneys, the DoJ's team, and a host of J&J legal types pursued evidence in the case for some 10 years. Last month, J&J agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor violation of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act and pay that $2.2 billion in criminal and civil penalties. The company also signed a promise to toe the line in the future.

- read the Bloomberg story

Special Report: Pharma's Top 11 Marketing Settlements - Johnson & Johnson