Search engines have been inundated with negative reviews and accusations of unethical practices from a former medical director who worked at a prominent pharmaceutical company, according to a complaint filed in federal court on Wednesday.
The former doctor, Steven J. Stemmer, who is a former clinical director at Northwestern University Medical Center, filed a lawsuit last year against Altria-owned Merck & Co. alleging that he was fired for refusing to participate in an unethical experiment involving a drug company.
He says he resigned in 2011 to avoid the negative publicity that would follow his departure.
In his complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Stemmers said he quit Merck in early 2012, and his resignation was not approved by the company.
The complaint accuses Merck of failing to investigate allegations of improper conduct involving the study of a compound called Ritalin, which was being used in the clinical trial of Merck’s EpiPen, the allergy treatment used by millions of Americans.
The suit says Merck did not conduct a proper investigation of the allegations and that Stemner was fired without cause after he refused to participate.
Merck declined to comment.
Merkels spokesman said Merck was “aware of the pending allegations” and was “reviewing them.”
The complaint alleges Stemers dismissal was triggered by his refusal to participate as part of a Merck study of the compound.
The lawsuit alleges Stems departure “was not authorized by Merck and was not based on any legitimate professional reason.”
The suit also alleges Merck failed to disclose Stemners resignation in a public filing and that Merck had failed to comply with federal laws requiring it to provide employees with notice of termination.
The Merck-Altria lawsuit accuses Merk and the drug company of violating antitrust laws by conspiring to manipulate the Merck EpiPens prices, which were the highest in the U.N. price-reporting system, according.
Stems resignation came two weeks after Merck acquired the drugmaker AstraZeneca from Pfizer Inc. in a deal that also included a $300 million offer for Altria.
Stimmers lawsuit also seeks unspecified damages.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The drugmaker is based in Pennsylvania, where Stemms wife works as a registered nurse.