Tonight on 60 Minutes: GSK Whistleblower Cheryl Eckard

Tonight's episode of 60 Minutes contains a segment which may be of interest to many members here: An interview with GlaxoSmithKline whistleblower, Cheryl Eckard. Ms. Eckard was a Quality Assurance manager sent to one of GSK's factories to help the factory meet FDA standards after it had failed inspection. This factory was one where Avandia and Avandamet (combination of Avandia and Metformin) was made, and as writes:

What she discovered went far beyond the manufacturing violations previously uncovered by the FDA. Her whistleblower lawsuit, filed by the Getnick firm in February 2004, included details about mixed-up products, super and subpotent diabetes drugs, an area of the factory used to make injectible drugs that was not sterile, air handling systems that misdirected the flow of product powders, a water system contaminated with microorganisms, and a host of other manufacturing and quality testing problems that led her to conclude that GSK could not assure that its product was free from contamination and made according to the drug formula registered with the FDA.

Many of the drugs, including Avandia and Bactroban (an antibiotic ointment which I've used), were sold to people on Medicare and Medicaid, which, when coupled with Ms. Eckard's careful documentation of the problems, allowed the US government to sue GSK for fraud. Ms. Eckard, though, was fired for her efforts.

60 Minutes airs on CBS affiliates at 7:00 PM Eastern time, or after the football game, whichever comes first. Consult your local listings for the exact time in your area.