By: George Mikhail
A former saleswoman of Abbott Laboratories has filed a federal lawsuit against the pharmaceutical company accusing them of illegally promoting TriCor, a cholesterol drug, for uses that were not approved by the FDA. While any doctor is free to prescribe any medication for any purpose they want to, a drug company cannot actively promote their drugs for "off-label" uses. In this case, she was allegedly trained and even rewarded by Abbott to promote TriCor as a drug to prevent cardiac health risks in patients with diabetes for an eight year span between 2000-2008. She also alleged that she was told to give illegal kickbacks to doctors for prescribing TriCor.
While the case was confidential under laws which are in place to protect whistle-blowers who come forward and expose healthcare fraud, it was unsealed due to the lack of intervention from federal and state governments. With no intervention from the federal and state government, potential fees for the plaintiff are massive.
Important to mention, Abbott and other pharmaceuticals have had a history of this deviant practice as we have covered in the recent past. Abbott has recently paid a $1.6 billion fine pleading guilty for illegally marketing a strong anti-seizure drug for disabled elderly people in nursing homes. It is the work of whistle-blowers with character and courage that help expose illegal practices as such.