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Grant & Eisenhofer Represents Lead Whistleblower in Historic $1.6 Billion Settlement with Abbott Laboratories Over Off-Label Marketing of Antiepileptic Medication Depakote
Date:5/7/2012

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In what may be the largest payment ever enforced involving off-label misuse of a single drug, law firm Grant & Eisenhofer, working with the U.S. Justice Department and several state Attorneys General, has reached a $1.6 billion settlement with Abbott Laboratories over its illegal marketing of antiepileptic medication Depakote to children and geriatric patients.

The settlement was reached between Abbott (NYSE: ABT) and the Justice Department, along with attorneys general in numerous states who have been conducting a 4 1/2 year investigation into the Chicago-based pharmaceutical manufacturer. Prosecutors accused Abbott of violating federal FDA regulations and federal and state false claims act laws in its marketing of Depakote, a powerful anti-seizure medicine.

Abbott's payment is one of the largest ever in the history of the False Claims Act. It includes $800 million in civil payments, along with a $700 million criminal penalty, and an additional $100 million to settle state consumer protection claims, for a total of $1.6 billion. Grant & Eisenhofer represents Meredith McCoyd, a former top-performing Abbott sales representative based in Atlanta, who was the first to come forward with allegations regarding Depakote. Ms. McCoyd is the lead whistleblower relator, whose complaint initiated the government's investigation of Abbott. The Justice Department intervened in her case last year.

Ms. McCoyd's case, originally filed under seal in 2007 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia, alleged use of illicit incentive payments by Abbott to physicians to encourage prescription writing of Depakote, as well as misrepresentations of the drug's safety and efficacy, and off-label marketing. Abbott reportedly generated over $1.4 billion per year in sales of Depakote throughout t
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