Fired Whistleblower Reps Make Similar Claim: Pfizer Said They Lacked "Integrity"

One small trend that emerged in the unveiling of the $2.3 billion Bextra whistleblower claims against Pfizer was what allegedly happened to those reps who used the company's internal ethics complaints hotline to complain about off-label promotion. They were fired for lacking "integrity."

Mostly, the claimants allege, they were either fired, given lousy performance reviews, or otherwise pressured to resign. Of course, being ex-employees with grudges, they would say that, wouldn't they?

Pfizer denies the allegations:

Pfizer denies all federal, state and qui tam allegations, with two exceptions. We acknowledge certain improper actions related to the past promotion of Bextra and Zyvox. Beyond those two exceptions we deny all federal and state and qui tam claims.
Two of the complaints contain identical details as to why the sales reps were allegedly let go. Blair Collins and Robert Liter, in separate suits, both claim they alerted Pfizer's HR to the off-label promotion, and both claim the company told them they were being fired because they had lost their "integrity."

Collins claims he was a "stellar" performer who earned many sales bonuses. But once he complained, this happened:

(Click to enlarge.) Liter tells a similar tale. He promoted Lyrica. After complaining that the drug was being pushed far beyond its FDA-approved indications, he alleges:

On August 30, 2006 at 10:30 a.m., while still on administrative leave, Elaine Keating, Regional Human Resource Director and Amy Jenner, area Vice President of Sales and Steve Reese's immediate supervisor called Relator, and Ms. Jenner stated, due to extenuating circumstances, based on Relator's meeting with corporate compliance on August 23, 2006 and Relator's lack of ["]integrity", that Relator was being terminated as a Pfizer employee.
In Liter's case, this was arguably true. He claims it was Pfizer's policy for reps to send in "medical inquiries" to Pfizer's Medical Information Managers on behalf of doctors. Those MIMs would then send answers featuring off-label information to doctors. Doctors are supposed to write and send in the requests themselves.

Thus, in one week in 2005, Liter sent in 47 off-label medical inquiries. When this was questioned by management, his regional manager said:

Bob Liter has submitted his medical inquiry request on an appropriate and unsolicited basis.