GSK whistleblower tried to spill the beans to boss in 2003

David Hellier
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CHERYL Eckard, the whistleblower awarded a record-breaking £60m by a US court earlier this week, reportedly tried to call the former chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) JP?Garnier in July 2003, to warn him there were problems with the group’s manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico.

GSK declined to say last night whether JP Garnier knew that the call had been made to his office. The call had been placed by Eckard after she left the company.

Getnick & Getnick, Eckard’s legal representatives, said Eckard complained multiple times that drugs made at GSK’s Cidra plant were being produced in a non-sterile environment, that the water system at the factory was contaminated and that medications were being made incorrectly.

After failed attempts to get GSK to remedy the situation, Eckard reported the violations to the FDA in August 2003.

The factory in Cidra, which had at one time been the largest in GSK, was closed in 2009. GSK said the company worked to remedy problems at the Cidra plant, and also added that no additional warning from the FDA had been received since 2002.

GSK agreed to pay $750m to settle the case. Eckard received her payment under the False Claims Act.