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Depakote Payouts Hit Big Pharma’s Big Pockets


Abbott Labs’ Depakote settlement resulted in $1.3 million payouts to two Virginia counties, part of a massive earlier settlement of more than $1.5 billion.

The Depakote Medicaid fraud settlement was valued at $2.6 million for the two Virginia counties, split between Smyth and Tazewell at $1.3 million each.

Some of the Depakote allegations included potentially unsafe off-label uses said in court to have been promoted over the course of years by the drugmaker. The Bluefield Daily Telegraph explains:

“The money comes from the $1.5 billion Abbott Laboratories agreed to pay to settle allegations that it promoted the drug Depakote for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that participated in the investigation shared $200 million in forfeited funds.”

According to TriCities, Depakote (also known as sodium valproate generically) was promoted for use to treat dementia in elderly patients as well as schizophrenia, neither of which are approved FDA uses for the drug. The site says:

“Court documents showed the company’s sales force was trained for ten consecutive years to market the drugs for those uses as effective treatment, neither of which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration… U.S. Attorney Brian Heaphy said the Abbott settlement was the largest single-drug settlement of an off-label pharmaceutical fraud case in Department history.”

The two Virginia counties’ prosecutors served as special assistant U.S. attorneys in the Depakote case. The monies received from Abbott over the Depakote ruling will be used for law enforcement.

The Depakote case was one of several that have prompted new calls for oversight in pharmaceutical marketing.

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5 Responses to “Depakote Payouts Hit Big Pharma’s Big Pockets”

  1. Grey Roose

    I took Depakote from the va for over 2 years, now I have liver problems, prostate problems, seizures and ataxia, if your wondering what that is it's a balance problem.i blame the va for all of this.

  2. Eileen Gove

    This is exactly what a nursing home did to my mother. She's 86 and her mind is not 100% sharp anymore. They decided to put her on Depakote which put her out in la-la land. When I would visit her she would tell me that my father was in the room with us and he'd been dead 20 years. I demanded that they wean her off the medication and she was back to normal in record time. I believe that the nursing homes use this medication not because it helps patients but because it puts the patients into outerspace. A lot of the nursing homes are understaffed and if the patients are mentally "not there" they will sit in their own filth without complaining.

  3. Crystal Torres

    My daughter takes Depakote to treat her epilepsy and the medication doesn't put her in lala land at all. She is always alert. The only side effect that she has ever complained about is headache and nausea but that is it. But I do think that our Dr.'s tend to over medicate their patients. I hate the fact that I have to give my daughter medication but she needs it. Most of the meds out there today have the worst side effects and at times need another medication just to treat the side effect of the original medication, or the side effect of the med is worse than the original symptom. Anyway, I hope your mom is doing well and I'm sorry to hear about your bad experience.

  4. Linda Foster

    More evidence of the $$$$ trying to cover up needless Rx's and HIGH prices…look it up. They've been making settlements all over the place ALL of the big pharmaceutical companies…you know, the ones that helped back this administration and the obummercare pkg!

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