earth.jpgHow do we make the world a better place? We stand up and make our voices heard when we see something that’s just not right.

That’s what an employee from Merck did. He was asked to engage in unsavory behavior and ended up becoming a whistleblower who ended up pocketing millions for his efforts.
This from the Associate Press:

A sales manager who “just couldn’t abide” by the way Merck wanted him to market the drugs Vioxx and Zocor to doctors took the lonely step of filing a whistleblower suit against his employer.

Seven years later, Merck & Co. will pay $671 million to settle complaints it overcharged government health programs and gave doctors improper inducements to prescribe its drugs.

And whistleblower H. Dean Steinke, the Michigan sales manager whose lawsuit led to about $400 million of the recovery, gets a $68 million reward.

“He did it because he really, truly thought that Merck was doing the wrong thing and he just couldn’t abide by it, even though he was putting his career on hold,” said Steinke’s lawyer, Steven Cohen of Chicago. His small firm, which specializes in such cases, will receive an undisclosed share of the award.

To be fair, this is one of those unusual stories. Whistleblowers rarely end up rich and famous. Many times they just end up without a job and struggling.

But it always pays off for the person who says no to unethical behavior, or exposes unethical behavior — way beyond money. Why? Doing what’s right is nourishment for your heart and soul.

And these tiny acts make the world a better place. I’m not just being a wide-eyed idealist here. I’m serious. Only we can make this spinning ball less bouncy.

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