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A former Novartis (NVS) employee was awarded nearly $1.5 million in damages over claims that she was fired in retaliation for complaining that a proposed drug study appeared to be a kickback, although the jury agreed that she violated a company policy.

Min Amy Guo, who had been executive director of the Health Economics and Outcomes Research Group, objected to a study that would have examined unapproved, or off-label, uses of the Affinitor breast cancer treatment, according to the lawsuit she filed in a New Jersey state court in 2014.


The study was supposed to have been run by the McKesson pharmaceutical wholesaler and overseen by another Novartis unit known as Oncology Scientific Operations, Managed Markets. But Guo contended the arrangement was expensive and would have violated internal procedures for third-party studies.

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