Press Release

Abbott Laboratories to Pay $1.5 Billion to Settle Drug Marketing Claims

October 5, 2012

Attorney General Michael C. Geraghty announced today that Alaska, other states and the federal government have reached a settlement with an international health care company. Abbott Laboratories has agreed to pay $1.5 billion to settle federal and state claims that it illegally distributed, marketed and sold the anti-seizure medication Depakote for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Abbott pled guilty on May 7, 2012 in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia pursuant to a criminal action filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Abbott agreed to pay $1.5 billion to resolve its civil and criminal liability related to government health programs that were allegedly defrauded when the company received reimbursements for Depakote after engaging in illegal marketing practices.

Abbott unlawfully promoted Depakote as a drug which could control aggression and agitation in elderly dementia patients and to treat schizophrenia. Abbott admitted that between 1998 and 2006, it maintained a sales force team trained to market the drug in nursing homes for the unapproved uses, despite the absence of credible scientific evidence that the drug was safe for that use.

The settlement represents the largest Medicaid fraud recovery in the history of the United States resulting from a state-led inquiry. The State of Alaska Division of Medical Assistance has received a check for over $508,000 dollars as its share of the settlement.

The Alaska Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is responsible for investigating and prosecuting Medicaid fraud and elder abuse. To report suspected Medicaid provider fraud, the public may contact the Department of Law in person, by phone at (907) 269-6297 or via e-mail at medfraud@alaska.gov.

For more information on this case call Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Director Andrew Peterson at (907) 269-6279.

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