Landmark $1.6 Billion Fine Voluntarily Paid by Abbott for Depakote
Written By: Rheingold, Valet, Rheingold, Ruffo & Giuffra LLP
In May, 2012, Abbott Laboratories willingly plead guilty to illegal drug marketing. This is the highest fine ever paid by Abbott, but billion dollar fines are bcoming business as usual for drug companies: $3 bil against GlaxoSmithKline , and $2.3 bil against Pfizer.
As we often note, the victims of these civil and criminal for violating the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act are often women, children and the elderly. In this case Abbott heinously marketet a strong anti-seizure to disabled elderly people in nursing homes. Drug companies can only market drugs for FDA-approved conditions. Doctors are allowed to prescribe drugs for "off-lable' use, but a company cannot do so. In this case, Abbott created special marketing crews who went to nursing homes and stated that the drug should be used for schizophrenia and dementia. Abbott created an entire campaign of using Depakote as a sedative. Federal law prevents intentional sedation, but Depakote had not yet been recognized by the federal government as an improper sedative.
Thankfully a brave and heroic whistleblower stepped forward, Meredith McCoyd. Her and three other whistleblowers should be commended for bringing an end to this methodical sedating of the elderly with dementia who had no idea about how they were being abused by Abbott for profits. To promote whistleblowing (federal laws were creating during the civil war to prevent profiteering), the whistleblowers will be handsomely rewarded-over $100 million will be split amongst them.