Depakote an epilepsy drug, Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) manufactures is said to have been illegally marketed.
Abbott (NYSE:ABT) has agreed to pay at least $1.3 billion to settle claims by the U.S. government and 24 states.
Drug companies aren’t allowed to promote a drug for uses other than those approved. As long as it’s licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is proven to be safe and effective Under U.S. law, a doctor can prescribe a medicine for any condition. Marketing Depakote illegally has resulted in the third-largest illegal pharmaceutical marketing accord in U.S. history, behind the $2.3 billion Pfizer paid in 2009 and the $1.4 billion Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY) paid the same year over sales of its Zyprexa anti-psychotic medicine. Sales of Depakote soared to over $1.4 billion per year as a result of improper marketing. Compensation for senior executives rocketed as well.
“The whistle-blowers will share at least 15 percent of the federal civil recovery portion of the settlement, according to federal False Claims Act provisions. They also will receive shares of some money paid to the states, said Patrick Burns of Taxpayers Against Fraud, a Washington nonprofit group that backs whistle-blower suits,” according to Bloomberg Business Week.