A Win for Whistle Blowers by Ralph Nader

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by Ralph Nader
The Nader Page
April 6. 2010

Why would Pfizer, the world’s largest drug company, so mistreat and silence one of their top molecular biologists that a federal jury in Connecticut awarded her $1.37 million in damages last week?

The unraveling answer promises to tear open the curtain covering hazards confronting tens of thousands of scientists and assistants in corporate and university labs doing genetic engineering work with viruses and bacteria.

Becky McClain’s lawsuit against Pfizer claimed that the company’s sloppiness in 2002-03 exposed her to an engineered form of the lentivirus, a virus related to one that could lead to immune deficiencies. Pfizer denied any connection between its lab practices and Ms. McClain’s recurring paralysis and other illnesses.

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