GSK whistleblower gets $96m settlement

Cheryl Eckard to win largest payout to a whistleblower in US history.

A whistleblower, who exposed contamination in GlaxoSmithKline's production processes and was eventually dismissed from her job at the company, won a record $96 million reward for her help.

Cheryl Eckard, won the amount - thought to be the largest ever paid to a whistleblower in the US - by filing a lawsuit after she found bad practices like mixed-up products, drugs that were too strong or too weak and production of injectable drugs in unsterilised areas.

Eckard warned a number of executives at the drug manufacturer of the numerous violations at GSK's plant in Cidra, Puerto Rico, only to be blocked and eventually sacked in 2003. The then chief executive JP Garnier too had refused to speak to her about the findings and the cover up.

She filed the lawsuit in 2004 with Getnick & Getnick.

GSK agreed to pay the US Government $750 million to settle civil and criminal charges that it manufactured and sold adulterated drugs made at the Cidra plant.

According to the US False Claims Act, whistleblowers can sue the company in question and receive up to 25 per cent of the final settlement for their information and co-operation. $96m is the share of the final settlement that the former quality control manager will be paid in this case.