WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- John Kopchinski, the whistleblower whom Phillips & Cohen LLP represented in a successful, record-setting "qui tam" case against Pfizer Inc., has been named as the most influential person in business ethics for 2009.
Ethisphere, a think tank that focuses on business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability, compiles an annual list of the 100 most influential people in business ethics. The group named Kopchinski number one on its 2009 list.
A former sales representative for Pfizer, Kopchinski exposed the company's illegal sales and marketing campaign for the prescription painkiller Bextra for uses and in doses that endangered patients' health and lives. (See http://www.phillipsandcohen.com/CM/NewsSettlements/NewsSettlements531.asp)
Pfizer paid $1.8 billion in September to the government to settle Kopchinski's qui tam lawsuit and a related criminal charge. The company settled four other whistleblower lawsuits at the same time, bringing the total settlement to $2.3 billion. It was the largest healthcare fraud settlement ever and the largest criminal fine ever imposed in the U.S.
"John Kopchinski wasn't seen as a team player and ultimately lost his job at Pfizer," said Erika Kelton, a Washington, DC, attorney with Phillips & Cohen. "But the happy ending to his story and the recognition this honor bestows should give other whistleblowers hope."
Kopchinski "officially turned whistleblowing into big business," said Ethisphere. He received more than $70 million as a reward for the work he and his attorneys did on the Pfizer case. The False Claims Act requires the government to award whistleblowers a percentage of the funds the government recovers as a result of their qui tam cases.
Phillips & Cohen specializes in representing whistleblowers in cases involving fraud against the government, tax matters and securities violations. Cases brought by the firm's attorneys have recovered more than $5.3 billion in civil and criminal penalties for the government. For more information about whistleblowers and qui tam cases, see www.phillipsandcohen.com.
For more information about the Pfizer qui tam case and settlement, see http://www.phillipsandcohen.com/CM/NewsSettlements/NewsSettlements536.asp
SOURCE Phillips & Cohen LLP
|SOURCE Phillips & Cohen LLP|
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