National Whistleblower Day Highlights the Importance, Dangers of Whistleblowing

July 30th is National Whistleblower Day

Unapproved Sales Strategies and Off-Label Marketing

Washington, DC—July 26, 2023—Bruce Boise didn’t know his life would change forever the day he contacted government authorities about his company’s sales practices.

As a sales representative for Cephalon, Boise had refused to follow company-ordered sales strategies to convince doctors to prescribe Cephalon’s Actiq, Gabitril, and Provigil drugs for unapproved, off-label uses.

The FDA had approved the use of Provigil to help keep patients awake that had certain disorders, such as sleep apnea. Cephalon marketed Provigil for off-label uses including fatigue associated with mental illnesses and children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.  Gabitril was approved for the treatment of partial seizures in epileptic patients, yet Cephalon was pushing doctors to prescribe it for anxiety and insomnia.  The most dangerous was Actiq, an opioid lollipop that contained Fentanyl that was approved only for cancer patients when usual pain medicine doesn’t control episodes of extreme pain.  Cephalon wanted to increase Actiq’s sales by marketing it for general pain treatment to general practitioners – doctors who usually aren’t as familiar as oncologists are with the potential dangers associated with using a prescription narcotic such as Actiq.

Bruce Boise’s Whistleblower Actions

Boise was the first to report Cephalon’s off-label marketing practices to government authorities and wore a wire to a Cephalon’s sales conference to help the government gather information and initiate a criminal investigation.  The decision cost Boise his job and a future career in the pharmaceutical industry.

Boise was a groundbreaking qui tam whistleblower and should be hailed as one of the first to report off-label marketing of opioids. His actions help lead to a $425 million settlement and a guilty plea by Cephalon in 2019.

National Whistleblower Day: Honoring Courage

“Most people who become whistleblowers do so because their ethics demand that they speak up to try to stop the wrongs they see. Bruce Boise is that kind of whistleblower and his story is just one example of the risks and retaliation whistleblowers can face for exposing the truth about fraud against the government,” said Peter Chatfield, Boise’s attorney, and a partner at Phillips & Cohen LLP.

July 30, 2023 is National Whistleblower Day, a day to celebrate the contributions of whistleblowers who have bravely stepped forward to expose waste, fraud, and abuse in governments around the world. The day celebrates July 30, 1778, when the U.S. Continental Congress unanimously passed the first whistleblower law in America.

Phillips & Cohen LLP: Leading Whistleblower Advocates

“Whistleblowers are often ignored, silenced, and punished.  They deserve to be hailed as heroes and this July 30th we honor whistleblowers for their courage, and for their contributions to the investigation and prosecution of significant frauds against the government and financial frauds, ” said Erika Kelton, partner and whistleblower attorney with Phillips & Cohen LLP.  “Tens of billions of dollars have been recovered as a result of these brave individuals stepping forward and speaking up.”

For more information about Boise’s story, and the stories of Phillips & Cohen’s other whistleblower clients visit

Phillips & Cohen is the most successful law firm representing whistleblowers, with recoveries from cases totaling over $12.3 billion. The firm has been recognized by numerous national awards. The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and other news media have featured many stories about Phillips & Cohen’s cases and attorneys.

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