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Off-label drug promotion schemes have the potential to hurt millions of patients, not just in terms of their health, but in their pocketbooks as well. Luckily, one such scheme was recently uncovered by a whistleblower and the company involved was forced to agree to a large settlement.

Atlanta residents will be interested to know that there was a scheme involving three different off-label drugs: one used to prevent strokes, another to combat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and a third used to treat high blood pressure. Since the scheme was unveiled by a whistleblower, the company involved was forced to pay a $95 million settlement. The individual directly tied up in the case will receive $17 million from that settlement.

Though in the end that individual received a huge award for their work, when a whistleblower first goes to unveil a wrong to the government or a higher-up, they can sometimes face retribution, such as the threat of being fired or worse. Because of this, the first thing they should do is speak with an employment law attorney about the various types of whistleblower protections that are in place.

When off-label prescription drug use and promotion is not carefully monitored, patients can suffer. When drug companies try to push their products to medical providers and patients for unapproved uses, people can suffer life-changing — or even grave — consequences. In this case, the manufacturer was held accountable for their dangerous, risky practices.

When there is a defect in the way a product is marketed by manufacturers, there may be important products liability issues at play. If a consumer receives inaccurate or incomplete information from a product’s manufacturer there may be a significant risk of injury. When a company acts with negligence in marketing a product and consumers pay the price, those affected could benefit from gaining knowledge of their legal options to pursue a civil claim.

Source: McKnight’s, “Pharma company to pay $95 million in settlement for ‘off-label’ drug promotion,” Oct. 30, 2012