34 Engineering Ethics: An Industrial Perspective
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Washington, DC: Government Accountability Program, 2002. http://www.whistleblower.org/
corporate/sox_whistleblowers_analysis_gwatchman.pdf
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. In December 2002, Time magazine named Sherron Watkins and two
other women, Cynthia Cooper and Coleen Rowley, as their “Persons
of the Year. What did Ms. Cooper uncover? How was she treated by
fellow employees? How did her revelation affect WorldCom?
2. View The Insider, a 1999 feature film produced by Brugge that details
how investigative journalism was involved in exposing corporate tobacco
dishonesty. Insider conscience Dr. Jeffrey Wigand was portrayed by
Russell Crowe. What were Wigand’s motivations for disclosing confi-
dential Brown and Williamson information? Did these motivations
decrease the credibility of his information?
3. In the summer of 2004, in the midst of emerging evidence that the
drug Vioxx increased the risk of heart attack or stroke, Dr. David Graham
was preparing to give his own talk on Vioxx at an international pharma-
coepidemiology conference in France. Graham, an associate director of
science at the FDA Office of Drug Safety, had conducted a study that
demonstrated that both low and high doses of Vioxx increased the risk
of heart attack compared with another drug in the same class, Celebrex.
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Options for Action When an Engineering Ethics Threshold Is Reached 35
His managers began to pressure him to relax his conclusions. When one
manager insisted that industry was his client, he replied that “industry
may be your client, but it will never be my client” (NOW, 2005).
After Merck voluntarily withdrew Vioxx on September 30, 2004,
Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley began an investigation
into Vioxx. Graham was asked to testify. For testifying that Vioxx was not
an isolated accident, but part of a systemic failure at FDA to address drug
safety that Graham had personally witnessed over his 20-year career
at the agency, Forbes magazine named Graham their Face of the Year
(Herper, 2004). Name the ethical dilemmas discussed in Chapter 1 that
Graham experienced.
4. How effective do you believe the SOX anonymous reporting system is?
What evidence do you have to support your belief?
5. Find the top 20 False Claims Act judgments and settlements. What
industry dominates these fraud judgments? Why do you believe this
occurred?
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