David Brennan, a former quality-assurance auditor for the pharmaceutical company Cephalon Inc., claims he was fired in February for reporting concerns about Actiq, a narcotic painkiller that looks like a lollipop, the Associated Press reported June 21.
Actiq was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat young cancer patients. It is a berry-flavored lozenge on a stick that contains the synthetic opioid fentanyl.
A lawsuit filed by Brennan in Camden, N.J., claims that he was fired after he told his supervisors that he wanted to write a report to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements for the painkiller.
The lawsuit also states that an audit conducted last year found that Actiq was being prescribed by physicians other than cancer-pain specialists.
A spokesman for Cephalon called the allegations unfounded.