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Illegal Autism Drugs Maker Settles Fraud Case

Illegal Autism Drugs Manufacturer Pay $1.5 Billion in Settlement

Abbott Labs Markets Illegal Autism Drugs

Abbot Labs a manufacturer of drugs used to treat autism illegally has plead guilt as BusinessWeek.com reporter Pete Yost revealed.

Justice Department, U.S. Attorney Timothy Heaphy also declared that Abbot Laboratories was found to be engaged in the fraudulent strategy from 1998 to at least 2006. The illegal autism drugs were marketed under the name Depakote.

Abbott Laboratories has pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $1.5 billion over allegations that it promoted the anti-seizure drug Depakote for uses that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration…

autism drugs Valproate Sodium and Birth Defects

Illegal Autism Drugs Valproate Sodium and Birth Defects image from YouTube video

Depakote is an anti-seizure and mood-stabilizing drug prescribed for bipolar disorder.

However, the company admitted that it marketed the drug for unapproved uses, including treatment of schizophrenia, agitated dementia and autism.

Get the full story on BusinessWeek.com

Depakote, or divalproex, is the brand name for Valproate. Valproate has been linked to birth defects.

In April 2010 the USFoodandDrugAdmin issued a warning on Valproate.

marketed as Depacon (valproate sodium injection), Depakene (valproic acid), Stavzor (valproic acid), and Depakote (divalproex sodium).

Valproate has been associated with neural tube defects and craniofacial defects, as well as cardiovascular and other malformations. These kinds of malformations occur almost four times more frequently in babies born to women with epilepsy who took valproate during pregnancy than in babies born to women with epilepsy who used other anti-epileptic drugs

Sates will split about half of the remaing settlement after whistle blowers were awarded an $84 million share. Four unidentified persons were rewarded for standing up for Big Parmacy business interests. Tim Feran of the Columbus Dispatch reports on the Chicago Tribune website.

Four former Abbott Laboratories sales staff members who tipped off authorities to improper marketing of medication will split $84 million.

It’s part of a $1.6 billion settlement Abbott said this week it would pay to resolve federal and state claims.

“The amount of money should send to other whistle-blowers the message that if they’re willing to take a risk, they have the potential to be compensated,” said the attorney, Reuben Guttman, with Grant & Eisenhofer of Delaware state.

The payout is considered the second largest since the False Claims Act was revised in 1986, giving whistle-blowers more financial incentive to come forward by awarding them part of the settlement. In 2009, Pfizer Inc. paid $2.3 billion to settle a similar case, and six whistle-blowers reaped a total of $102 million.

You can read more on the whistle blowers on the Chicago Tribune page.

We hope more whistle blowers do come forward and suspect there may me more of this type of fraud being implemented.

Do you believe the settlement is enough punishment? Illegal Autism drugs linked to birth defects.  Should the corporate CEO’s face the same charges as the streetcorner drug dealers?