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Abbott Labs paying $9.5M in settlement over Depakote

By Bryan Cohen | Jun 10, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (Legal Newsline) - Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell announced on Friday that his office obtained more than $9.5 million from Abbott Laboratories to resolve allegations of Medicaid fraud.

Caldwell's office filed a lawsuit in 2011 against Abbott, alleging the company misbranded Depakote, an anti-epileptic medication. Abbott allegedly promoted the drug to control agitation and aggression in elderly dementia patients without approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"We will continue to pursue and bring to justice those who abuse the system," Caldwell said. "This is a victory for Louisiana."

Abbott also allegedly misbranded Depakote by marketing the drug to treat schizophrenia without approval from the FDA.

Caldwell said his office plans to continue using the state's laws to recover funds for taxpayers.

"According to Forbes magazine, of Louisiana's $6.6 billion in annual Medicaid funds, ten percent, or $660,000,000, is fraud," Caldwell said. "In the last two years, we have recovered almost half that amount, about $300,000,000, and we intend to continue using the state's strong Medicaid fraud laws to recover taxpayer funds wrongfully taken from Louisiana."

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