A federal judge cleared Merck of allegations that the drugmaker violated whistleblower protection laws by firing an employee for reporting what she believed were fraudulent dealings.
Merck market analyst Joni Westawski's suit surrounded Merck's involvement in a market research firm's study of diabetic employees at the Texas-based HEB grocery store chain. Westawski claimed Merck offered to fund a preliminary study with the ulterior motive of using the research firm's contacts to gain access to Blue Cross Blue Shield executives.
Westawski reported her concerns to an internal compliance group and said she was later fired in retaliation for reporting what she believed to be improper activities, but Merck maintained it was due to downsizing.
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