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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

Thursday, November 14, 2013

U.S. Attorney Heaphy Presents Members Of Abbott Prosecution Team With Department Of Justice Achievement Award

Local Prosecutors, Investigators Among A Small Number Of Nationwide Winners

ROANOKE, VIRGINIA –Assistant United States Attorneys Randy Ramseyer and Rick Mountcastle of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia, were two of 154 Department of Justice employees nationwide to be recognized by Attorney General Eric Holder and Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) Director H. Marshall Jarrett with a 2013 Director’s Award.  

United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy presented the Director’s Awards to members of the Abbott prosecution team at a ceremony yesterday in Roanoke.

“The 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 the history of the Department of Justice,” U.S. Attorney Heaphy said at today’s ceremony. “Significant federal cases like the Abbott matter help deter waste, fraud and abuse in the health care system.  AUSAs Ramseyer and Mountcastle and other lawyers in this office have historically tackled a number of these labor-intensive cases.   Time and again our AUSAs have proven to be the very best in the business in handling these complex cases.  We will try to perpetuate their success and continue our work in this important area.”

In May 2012, global health care company Abbott Laboratories Inc., pleaded guilty in United States District Court in Abingdon, Virginia, 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 Ramseyer and Mountcastle, 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 were supported by evidence or were FDA approved. During a ceremony today at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia in Abingdon, U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy honored those on the prosecution team for their hard work and dedication to the lengthy successful federal investigation of Abbott Laboratories.

In letters to Ramseyer, Mountcastle, Attorney General Eric Holder told the awardees that they showed “exceptional efforts to promote the fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans.”

“Each day the members of the US Attorneys’ community go to work for the citizens of this country with one goal in mind – to do everything they can to protect the rights of all Americans,” said EOUSA Director Jarrett.  “I am continually humbled by their resiliency, dedication, and unparalleled work ethic to accomplish this noble mission. Today’s awardees exemplify what it truly means to be a patriot and it is an honor to recognize them for their extraordinary service.”

U.S. Attorney Heaphy presented AUSA Randy Ramseyer, and members of Abbott prosecution team, with Department of Justice Achievement Award at a ceremony on November 13, 2013

Updated April 14, 2015