What do you do when the company you work for is defrauding the federal and state governments and United States taxpayers of hundreds of millions of dollars? YOU SUE THEM!
The Celegene Corporation is a pharmaceutical company. According to its Wikipedia page it is an American biotechnology company that manufactures drug therapies for cancer and inflammatory disorders. It touts itself, on its website, as being “Committed to Improving the Lives of Patients Worldwide.”
A bold claim for a company currently embroiled in litigation with a whistleblower and one of its former drug representatives. Celegene has been sued by Beverly Brown, a former pharmaceutical rep for the company, for putting an ‘old, highly toxic drug’ back on the market and marketing it to physicians and patients worldwide as a treatment for “all types of cancer without any of the research the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires or the oversight it provides.”
The drug is thalidomide (cleverly named Thalomid), along with its newer cousin lenalidomide (sold as Revlimid).
Does thalidomide sound familiar? Probably not, but it should. In the 1950 and 60’s thalidomide was sold to pregnant women as a panacea for miscarriages, nervousness and morning sickness. This was before the common use of the term ‘side effects’ and the German company, Grunenthal, that produced the drug and sold it in the United States through a Cincinnati distributor, certainly wasn’t about to advertise the problems that began arising shortly after its introduction.
Pregnant women who took thalidomide ran the very high risk of giving birth to babies with SEVERE birth defects. It was not uncommon for these ‘thalidomide babies’ to be born without arms or legs, or with missing fingers, heart problems and serious organ damage.
But the United States didn’t see the outcry in the 50’s and 60’s over the poisoning of pregnant women that it would normally see today. Instead horrified mothers were reluctant to admit to taking the drug, realizing that they’d been the dupes of an unethical company and a useless American drug review process. They hid their babies away, blamed God and other things for their babies’ conditions, afraid to admit that they’d been used.
One brave woman, born without lower legs, recently published an article for Huffington Post detailing her struggles, promoting her book (“Mermaid”) and voicing her dismay that there is virtually no media coverage in the United States about this horrific abuse of pregnant women and their children.
But now it’s back.
And true to form, Celegene has come under fire for illegal marketing of the drug to physicians and cancer patients without FDA approval.
More in the next article…