Peter Rost, the outspoken executive that Pfizer fired earlier this month, has filed a wrongful dismissal suit against his former employer.
Pfizer fired Rost after the US government decided not to participate in a whistleblower suit he brought against the company, alleging that Pfizer’s Pharmacia unit had inappropriately marketed its human growth hormone product Genotropin (somatropin) for off-label uses, and improperly sought reimbursement from federal health plans.
With the help of law firm Green & Savits, Rost is alleging that in terminating his employment Pfizer has violated state and federal laws that protect staff who bring whistleblower cases against their employers. He also claims that an offer of continued employment was made by Pfizer ahead of the Genotropin allegations that was subsequently withdrawn, and says this fate also befell another employee who ‘had raised issues of illegality regarding the marketing, selling and distribution of Genotropin’.
The federal government is currently investigating the Genotropin allegations in a separate criminal case.
Rost held the position of vice president of marketing at Pfizer, having joined the company when it acquired Pharmacia in 2003. Pfizer maintains that it would have terminated his employment sooner, but did not do so for fear of prejudicing the outcome of the whistleblower suit.
Earlier this year, Rost courted further controversy when he publicly dismissed claims by the Industry that parallel trade in pharmaceuticals is opening the door to counterfeiting and bioterrorism, saying this was merely a scare tactic to protect prices and profits.