For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: May 7, 2012

Wasden Joins $100 Million Settlement with Abbott Laboratories

(Boise) – Idaho will receive $1.2 million from a legal settlement with Abbott Laboratories, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said today.  Wasden joined the attorneys general of 44 other states and the District of Columbia in a $100 million settlement with Abbott Laboratories over allegations of illegal off-label marketing of its Depakote drug. The agreement marks the largest consumer protection pharmaceutical settlement ever reached.

In a complaint filed with the settlement agreement, the states alleged that Abbott engaged in unfair and deceptive practices when it marketed Depakote for off-label uses without adequate evidence substantiating these uses. Depakote is approved for treatment of seizure disorders, mania associated with bipolar disorder and prevention of migraines, but the attorneys general alleged Abbott marketed the drug for treating unapproved uses, including schizophrenia, agitated dementia and autism.

“Physicians are permitted to prescribe pharmaceuticals for off-label use, but it is a violation of federal law for manufacturers to market their products for off-label use,” Attorney General Wasden said.   “This significant settlement seeks to hold this manufacturer accountable for its unlawful behavior.”

As a result of the states’ investigation, Abbott has agreed to significantly change how it markets Depakote and to cease promoting off-label uses. The company also will pay $100 million nationally.

Idaho’s share of the settlement will be $1,220,050 and will be deposited into the Consumer Protection Account.  That account partially funds the Attorney General’s consumer protection operations.  Unspent moneys are transferred to the state’s General Fund for appropriation by the legislature.  The Attorney General has transferred more than $16 million from the Consumer Protection Account to the General Fund since Fiscal Year 2000.

Under the settlement, Abbott Laboratories is:

  • prohibited from making false or misleading claims about Depakote,
  • prohibited from promoting Depakote for off-label uses, and
  • required to ensure financial incentives on sales do not promote off-label uses of Depakote.

In addition, for a five-year period Abbott must:

  • limit the creation and use of responses to requests by physicians for non-promotional information about off-label uses of Depakote,
  • limit dissemination of reprints of clinical studies relating to off-label uses of Depakote,
  • limit use of grants and CME,
  • disclose payments to physicians, and
  • register and disclose clinical trials.

Since 2003, Wasden has recovered more than $39 million for Idaho in 24 settlements with pharmaceutical manufacturers who have violated a variety of state and federal laws.

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