One healthcare whistleblower is Chris Wall, who, according to the Citizen-Times (1/13/17) will receive around $430,000 for reporting the illegal activity of Baxter Healthcare Corp. Baxter will pay more than $18 million to settle a variety of allegations related to mold at its Marion facility, brought to light by Wall.
Baxter reportedly uses the Marion plant to make pharmaceutical drugs and a variety of medical therapies, including renal therapies. In 2011 and 2012, Wall discovered mold on air filters near some of the machines involved in manufacturing Baxter therapies, in rooms that were supposed to be sterile. Despite supervisors being notified of concerns about mold, the filters were not changed for around 16 months. When Wall attempted to change the filters, he was ordered to stop. Wall continued to document issues with the mold and alerted attorneys about the issue, who reported the issue to the FDA.
McDowell News (1/13/17) reports that employees at the plant were told not to describe the filters as having mold but were to instead use words like "stain" and "discoloration" to describe the filters.
"Following current Good Manufacturing Practices is essential to ensure the safety and efficacy of our drugs," said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department's Civil Division in a news release. "Today's settlement shows that the government will continue to hold companies accountable for failing to fulfill this critically important responsibility."
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Whistleblowers who report illegal activity of healthcare companies may be eligible to share in money recovered from those companies via lawsuits. Compensation for whistleblowers varies between 15 and 30 percent of settlement funds.
Whistleblowers are also protected from retaliation if they report illegal activities on the part of their employer.
Wall's lawsuit is United States ex rel. Christopher Wall v. Baxter International, Inc. et al., No. 13cv42.