KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Abbott Agrees To $1.6B Settlement With States, Feds

Abbott Laboratories will pay the federal government and 45 states a total of $1.6 billion after admitting to marketing its anti-seizure drug Depakote for off-label uses over 10 years.

The Washington Post: Abbot Laboratories Agrees To $1.6 Billion Settlement Over Marketing Of Depakote
Global pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories has agreed to pay federal and state governments $1.6 billion in criminal and civil fines for illegally promoting unapproved uses of its drug Depakote, including to sedate elderly patients in nursing homes, officials announced Monday (Aizenman, 5/7).

The New York Times: Abbott Settles Marketing Lawsuit
The pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories said on Monday that it had reached an agreement with the federal and nearly all state governments to pay $1.6 billion in connection with its illegal marketing of the anti-seizure drug Depakote (Schmidt and Thomas, 5/7).

Los Angeles Times: Abbot Labs Agrees To Pay $1.6 Billion To Settle Depakote Cases
Abbott will pay $800 million to resolve civil allegations split among federal and state governments, $700 million in criminal penalties and $100 million to states to resolve consumer protection matters, the Abbott Park, Ill., company said Monday (Frost, 5/7).

The Associated Press: Abbott Labs Agrees To Pay $1.5B Over Depakote
Abbott Laboratories has pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $1.5 billion over allegations that it promoted the anti-seizure drug Depakote for uses that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The case includes a criminal fine and forfeiture of $700 million and civil settlements with the federal government and states totaling $800 million. Deputy Attorney General James Cole said Monday the settlement reflects the determination by government "to hold accountable those who commit fraud” (Yost, 5/7).

Chicago Sun-Times: Abbott Labs Pleads Guilty, Will Pay $1.6B Over Drug Claims
North Chicago-based pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories has pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $1.6 billion over allegations that it promoted the anti-seizure drug Depakote for uses that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. ... Depakote is an anti-seizure and mood-stabilizing drug prescribed for bipolar disorder. The company admitted that it marketed the drug for unapproved uses, including treatment of schizophrenia, agitated dementia and autism (5/7).

CNN: Abbott Laboratories To Pay $1.6 Billion Over Misbranding Drug
Abbott Laboratories has pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $1.6 billion to resolve its criminal and civil liability arising from the company's unlawful promotion of the prescription drug Depakote, the U.S. Justice Department said Monday. Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West said it was case of Abbott putting "profits ahead of patients." ... Abbott pleaded guilty to a criminal misdemeanor for misbranding Depakote. Separate from the DOJ settlement, Abbott agreed to pay 45 states a total of $100 million to resolve liability under the state consumer-protection laws (Frieden and Watkins, 5/7).

Massachusetts and Connecticut news organizations detail the part of the settlement their states will receive from the settlement -

Boston Globe: Mass. To Get $19.8m In Abbott Deal
Massachusetts will get $19.8 million as part of a pair of multistate settlements with Illinois drug company Abbott Laboratories, which agreed to pay a total of $900 million and plead guilty to violating a federal drug law to resolve charges of illegal off-label marketing. The accords revolve around Abbott's promotion of the antiseizure medication Depakote for off-label uses over 10 years. In one, Abbott will pay the states and US government $800 million in civil damages and penalties to compensate Medicaid, Medicare, and other federal health care plans to settle a suit filed under the False Claims Act (5/7).

The Connecticut Mirror: Prescription Monitoring Program Gets Funding Reprieve 
The state program that allows doctors and pharmacists to track controlled substance prescriptions has gotten something of a reprieve, at least for now. Money for the Prescription Monitoring Program had been slated to run out later this year, but a settlement between states and the drug maker Abbott Laboratories will provide Connecticut with $150,000 to bolster the program (Levin Becker, 5/7). 

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