Abbott pays $1.6bn for promoting off label use of valproic acid

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 11 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3343
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. 1Washington, DC

The drug company Abbott Laboratories has agreed to pay $1.6bn (£0.9bn; €1.2bn) in penalties for improper promotion of the drug Depakote (valproic acid) in the US. The settlement is the second largest by a drug manufacturer and ends a four year investigation by federal and state officials.

The company acknowledged training a workforce to promote off label use of the drug to nursing homes to control agitation and aggression in older schizophrenia patients and in patients with dementia. The judgment says that Abbott also made illegal payments to doctors and pharmacists to encourage them to promote or prescribe valproic acid outside its …

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