Pfizer and other pharmaceutical industry players are stepping up lobbying efforts in hope of defeating the False Claims Amendments Act of 2021, a bill that would strengthen protection for whistleblowers.
The legislation, introduced in July, would expand key aspects of the existing False Claims Act by strengthening the original law’s anti-retaliation provisions, and by installing new safeguards against industry-level blacklisting of whistleblowers seeking employment.
The False Claims Act, which dates back to the Civil War, rewards whistleblowers who file anti-fraud lawsuits against contractors on behalf of the government. The law, originally enacted in response to defense contractor fraud during the Civil War, has to date returned $67 billion to the U.S. government.
Other groups opposing the legislation include the American Hospital Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of American Hospitals, the National Association of Manufacturers, the Healthcare Leadership Council, the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America and the American Bankers Association.
National Whistleblower Center, the Project on Government Oversight, the Government Accountability Project and Taxpayers Against Fraud support the amendment.
Pfizer’s lobbying efforts follow on the heels of a recent investigation based on information provided by a whistleblower who alleged Pfizer’s COVID vaccine phase 3 clinical trial was deeply flawed. The whistleblower, Brook Jackson, was directly involved in the trial as an employee of a company hired by Pfizer to conduct the trial.