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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 14763

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: news

Silverman E.
Roche Rep Fired For Refusing To Promote Off-Label
Pharmalot 2008 Dec 9
http://www.pharmalot.com/2008/12/roche-rep-fired-for-refusing-to-promote-off-label/


Full text:

That’s the claim made in a lawsuit filed by Carolyn Gleason, a former rep who visited hospitals and other big medical institutions in northern Florida to sell Mycamine, an anti-fungal med that Roche co-promotes with Astellas Pharma. The trouble began, according to the lawsuit, when a regional manager wanted to boost declining sales by relying, in part, on off-label promotions.
In her lawsuit, Gleason charges she was sexually harassed and, eventually, fired because she refused to follow orders to market the drug for “all purposes,” such as telling docs the drug could be used in lower-cost, 100mg doses to treat candidemia. The FDA, though, had not approved Mycamine for that use or dosage. As an example, she cites a June 2007 club luncheon at which a presentation was being made and she refused her supervisor’s instructions to discuss an unapproved clinical study article.
However, her supervisor, Tom Long, allegedly proceeded to discuss the article. “In violation of FDA rules, Mr. Long represented to the physicians who were present at the luncheon that Mycamine 100mg is being used at Tampa General Hospital and Jackson Memorial, two large hospitals in Tampa Regional’s sales territory,” according to the lawsuit. “Mr. Long falsely told the physicians present at the luncheon that, with regard to Mycamine, ‘no one questions the 100 mg anymore, it’s a given.’ ”
Later, Gleason claims Long began to sexually harass her by kissing and hugging her inappropriately. About the same time, Long had begun questioning her expense reports and job performance. Until she began reporting to Long in 2006, Gleason claims she never received a negative job critique or was disciplined, but in fact, had received a special recogition award six times during her 10-year tenure.
However, Gleason was fired in September 2007, three months after she claims to have refused to promote Mycamine off-label and 17 days after she reported the allegedly harassment to the human resources manager in Roche’s Tampa, Florida, regional office, according to her lawsuit. We have contacted a Roche spokesman for comment and will update you with any reply. UPDATE: A spokesman declined to comment, citing pending litigation.

 

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You are going to have many difficulties. The smokers will not like your message. The tobacco interests will be vigorously opposed. The media and the government will be loath to support these findings. But you have one factor in your favour. What you have going for you is that you are right.
- Evarts Graham
See:
When truth is unwelcome: the first reports on smoking and lung cancer.