Archive for October, 2010
Monday, October 25th, 2010
Whistleblowers need advocates, and fortunately, they have Chuck Grassley. Senior Senator Chuck Grassley (Republican) of Iowa has been one of the Senate’s greatest proponents of whistleblower protection since he co-authored the 1986 amendments to the 1863 False Claims Act. Originally designed by Lincoln to curtail acts of fraud against the government during the Civil War, Senator Grassley worked with Congressman Howard Berman to update the Act. Some of the most important, long-lasting provisions created by the 1986 changes were employment protection for whistleblowers and the increase in plaintiff/whistleblower rewards to a required 15-30%. Along with other notable changes to the False Claims Act, these two provisions curtailed whistleblowers’ fear of retaliation. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Government has recovered over $22 billion dollars as a result of the 1986 updates.
In 2009, Senator Grassley co-sponsored the S. 458, the “False Claims Act” with the specific intent to target drug companies defrauding the US government and protect those who report these illegal and fraudulent acts.
Prior to sponsoring the Act, Senator Grassley sent letters to the largest pharmaceutical companies asking them how they were informing their employees about the 1986 provisions protecting whistleblowers; he received few responses, so he followed up after the 2009 Act was passed. In his follow-up letters, Senator Grassley put forth eight questions asking these companies to detail their internal, corporate responses not only to the 1986 Act, but also to the 2009 Act. In his letter to Pfizer, Grassley asks, “What changes have taken place at Pfizer since the acquisition of Wyeth with regard to notifying employees about the FCA?” also requesting that Pfizer provide examples of said changes.
Senator Grassley’s letter to Pfizer can be found by clicking here: http://grassley.senate.gov/about/upload/2010-06-28-Letter-to-Pfizer.pdf . By holding these top pharmaceutical companies accountable through not only legislative but also discursive processes, Senator Grassley continues to assert his role as one of the country’s top whistleblower advocates.
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