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Abbott to pay $1.3 billion for Depakote lawsuits

Published on 24/10/11 at 09:33am
Abbott's Depakote: alleged to have been marketed outside of licence


Abbott could be liable to pay $1.3 billion to settle claims it illegally marketed the epilepsy drug Depakote.

Abbott is said to have reached an agreement that would see the firm pay around $800 million for civil claims and about $500 million in criminal penalties, according to sources speaking to Bloomberg.

The money would be used to settle claims by the US government that allege the firm illegally marketed Depakote for uses outside of its licence, including for: agitation and aggression in patients with dementia, autism, sexual compulsion and other disorders.

The drug is currently licenced for the treatment of epilepsy, prevention of migraines, and treating acute manic episodes in bipolar patients.

The $1.3 billion would represent the third highest ever payout from a pharma firm for the illegal marketing of a drug – behind Lilly’s $1.4 billion over sales of its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa and Pfizer’s $2.3 billion for the illegal marketing of its Bextra painkiller.

The final settlement could be reached by the end of the year, sources close to the accord told Bloomberg.

The claims were originally brought by an ex-Abbott marketer who said earlier this year that sales of Depakote “rocketed to over $1.4 billion per year” as a result of improper marketing, adding that: “compensation for senior executives soared as well”.

Abbott had been expecting the hit and said last week that it was reserving $1.5 billion for the lawsuits.

The company said negotiations are still ongoing but would not comment further on the settlement.

Ben Adams

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