U.S. Attorney Heaphy Announces Distribution Of Forfeiture Proceeds To Commonwealth’s Attorneys
Local Prosecutors Supported Federal Prosecution of Abbott Laboratories
ABINGDON, VIRGINIA – In May 2012, global health care company Abbott Laboratories Inc., pleaded guilty in United States District Court in Abingdon to unlawful promotion of the prescription drug Depakote for uses not approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration. As part of its plea agreement with the Department of Justice, the company agreed to pay $1.5 billion to resolve criminal and civil liability arising from the company’s conduct.
Following a lengthy investigation led by AUSAs in the Western District of Virginia, Abbott pleaded guilty to misbranding Depakote by promoting the drug to control agitation and aggression in elderly dementia patients and to treat schizophrenia when neither of these uses was FDA approved. The company is currently on probation for this conduct and is implementing a series of changes designed to prevent off label marketing in the future.
“The federal prosecution of Abbott Labs resulted in a total settlement of $1.5 billon, the largest single-drug settlement of an off-label pharmaceutical fraud case in Department history,” U.S. Attorney Heaphy said today. “Substantial cases like this one help deter waste fraud and abuse in our health care system. The Assistant United States Attorneys in the Western District of Virginia have a long, distinguished track record of successfully bringing cases against drug manufacturers. We will continue to prioritize health care fraud cases and ensure that federal health care dollars are responsibly utilized.