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Former Mylan executive sues over firing

| Tuesday, June 24, 2014, 1:03 p.m.

When Mylan Inc. learned that its vice president of marketing had filed a whistleblower lawsuit against his previous employer, it fired him, the man alleged in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Mylan hired Matthew Cestra of South Fayette in 2011 and, through March, said in performance reviews that he “exceeds expectations,” Cestra says in the lawsuit. Although he filed a federal lawsuit against Cepahlon Inc. in 2010, his role in the lawsuit didn't become public until July, Cestra said.

His supervisors fired him in May citing his performance “over the last several weeks,” as the reason, the lawsuit says.

Sam Cordes, his lawyer, said retaliation claims under the federal False Claims Act are usually the result of an employer disciplining or firing an employee who reveals fraud committed by the same company.

“That's the typical case but the statute provides for this kind of liability as well,” he said.

The statute protects employees who suffer retaliation for revealing fraud against the government regardless of whether the employer acting against the employee was involved in the fraud, Cordes said.

A spokesperson for the Cecil-based pharmaceutical company couldn't be reached for comment.

Cestra is seeking reinstatement, double the wages he would have received from the time he was fired, reimbursement of his legal costs and other compensatory and punitive damages.

He filed a federal lawsuit in 2010 against Cephalon Inc., now a subsidiary of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. of Israel, claiming it submitted thousands of false claims to federal and state health care plans involving the unapproved, off-label uses of two of its drugs.

The case, which is pending in Philadelphia federal court, seeks to recover the money the government programs paid for those unapproved uses.

As is standard practice in qui tam cases seeking to recover government money, the case was kept under seal until the Justice Department decided in 2013 not to intervene in the lawsuit. Cestra's role as the whistleblower didn't become public until July 10, the lawsuit says.

After his name was publicly tied to the Cephalon lawsuit, his supervisors became increasingly hostile and fired him on May 8, the lawsuit says.

Brian Bowling is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-325-4301 or bbowling@tribweb.com

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