Attorney General Schneider Reaches Settlement With Abbott Laboratories

May 7, 2012

Case resolves company?s wrongful marketing of prescription drug Depakote

AUGUSTA ? Attorney General Schneider and the attorneys general of 44 other states and the District of Columbia today announced 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-based pharmaceutical settlement ever reached. Maine will receive nearly $1.2 million and the Illinois-based Abbott will be restricted from marketing the drug for off-label uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

?Promoting drugs for unapproved uses is illegal,? said Attorney General Schneider. ?Abbott is being held accountable for marketing the off-label use of Depakote without reliable proof of its efficacy.?

In a complaint filed today along with the settlement agreement, the states alleged Abbott engaged in unfair and deceptive practices when it marketed Depakote for off-label uses. Depakote is approved for treatment of seizure disorders, mania associated with bipolar disorder and prophylaxis of migraines, but the attorneys general alleged Abbott marketed the drug for treating unapproved uses, including schizophrenia, agitated dementia and autism.

As a result of the states? investigation, Abbott has agreed to significantly change how it markets Depakote and to cease promoting off-label uses.

Under the settlement, Abbott Laboratories is: 1. Prohibited from making false or misleading claims about Depakote

  1. Prohibited from promoting Depakote for off-label uses, and

  2. Required to ensure financial incentives on sales do not promote off-label uses of Depakote.

In addition, for a five-year period Abbott must: 1. Limit the creation and use of responses to requests by physicians for non-promotional information about off-label uses of Depakote,

  1. Limit dissemination of reprints of clinical studies relating to off-label uses of Depakote,

  2. Limit use of grants and CME,

  3. Disclosure of payments to physicians, and

  4. Register and disclose clinical trials.

Attorneys General of the District of Columbia and the following states participated in today?s settlement: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.