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Whistle Blowing

You will read the whistleblower case below, apply relevant ideas, concepts, principles, or theories, and provide your judgment or opinion to answer the following four questions.

The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer agreed to pay $2.3 billion to settle civil and criminal allegations that it had illegally marketed its painkiller Bextra, which has been withdrawn. Bextra was not approved for the treatment of acute pain, nor was it shown to be any more powerful than ibuprofen. But Pfizer instructed its sales representatives to tell doctors that the drug could be used to treat acute and surgical pain and at doses well above those approved, even though the drug’s dangers — which included kidney, skin and heart risks — increased with the dose, the government charged. John Kopchinski, a former Pfizer sales representative who is one of the whistleblowers in this Bextra case, said that company managers told him and others to dismiss concerns about a similar case while pushing them to undertake the same illegal efforts on behalf of Bextra. Mr. Kopchinski and other whistle-blowers will collect $433 million from the federal share of the settlement and more from states’ shares as their whistle blowing reward.

1. Whistle blowing has been considered to be a new way of monitoring corruption and fraud in the public and private sectors. Describe the important role of whistleblowers in the case, identify possible benefits which the whistleblower system provides for the society, and discuss how the whistleblower system is different from a general top-down monitoring system.

2. Whistleblowers are often the victims of retaliation by their organizations. Employees who blow the whistle on their employers are often laid off or transferred to other organizations or departments with the reduction of their salaries. Discuss ways of preventing fear of retaliation by employers in order to encourage whistle blowing.

3. Whistleblowers are seen as “back-stabbers” or “rats” in their organization. Address any negative side effects from encouraging whistleblower activities.

4. Provide your judgment and opinion about the result of this case in which each whistleblower will receive a big financial incentive for their whistle blowing activities.

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